How to Request a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE)

How to Request a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE)

As a parent or guardian, it’s painful to watch your child struggle in school. You may feel completely helpless and at a loss as to how to help.

But you are not helpless. You can help!

In today’s post, we will show you how to request a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) from your school.  The results of this evaluation will play a critical role in making classroom adjustments for your child.  The MFE is the first step in getting your child an Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

All of these steps were printed, with permission, from “How to Break the ETR Code”. This manual, written by NCES founder and director Carole Richards, provides step-by-step procedures to requesting exams for your child and how to read and interpret the results.

Before you request a MFE, it is important to know where and how your child is struggling. Click here to review “4 Steps to Helping a Child Struggling in School”.

Now you are ready to take the next steps in obtaining a MFE for your child.

How to Request a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE)

I. Response to Intervention

– Student is struggling and is referred to RTI (Response to Intervention) services and is placed in Tier 2.

– Tier 2 may last 6-18 weeks depending on district. If minimal or little is progress made, the student is referred to Tier 3 a more intensive 1-1 or small group intervention for 6-18 weeks.

– If minimal or no progress is made in Tier 3, the team will request an Evaluation is completed. (See II below.)


II. Requesting the MFE/ETR

A1. School Recommends an Evaluation for a Disability

The RTI team is called together with the school psychologist to develop an assessment plan and sign permission for evaluation.


A2. Parent Requests Their Child be Tested for a Disability

– The child consistently struggles in school.

– The parent and school staff have discussed concerns about the child.

– The school has attempted interventions, but they have failed (student has completed all RTI interventions and Tier 3 services).

– The parent requests a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) in writing to see if their child has a disability to determine if special education services are needed. (Click here to download our sample letter template and testing receipt form.)  This no longer triggers automatic evaluation.

– Include information (including reports) from doctors or other professionals identifying the child’s disability with your request letter.

– The evaluation is free of charge.


You must request a Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) in writing. Click here to download our free template.


B. Timeline for MFE Completion

– After the parent gives written consent, the school must complete the MFE within 60 calendar days.

– If the child is not making progress in school and interventions have not been attempted, the school may develop a Response to Intervention (RTI) and attempt interventions. (This is now customarily done prior to signing permission for assessment.  See footnote 1 below.)

– The RTI may not be used to deny or delay the MFE.


C. School May Refuse to Complete the MFE

– School may deny the MFE decision in writing.

– The school should provide reasons why it was refused again in writing.


II. What if the parent doesn’t agree with the MFE results?
An Independent Evaluation.

Parents have the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if they disagree with an evaluation completed by the school district.

– Parents may request one independent educational evaluation in response to each evaluation completed by the district. (If the request for an independent evaluation comes one year or more from the date of completion of the district’s evaluation, the district may seek to complete a reevaluation prior to purchase of an independent educational evaluation.)

– The parent does not need to give reasons for the request.

– The school may not choose the evaluator.

– The school may impose cost controls that do not interfere with the right of an MFE. (Usually you can get a school district to pay for hospital testing.)


If you feel that your student may have an underlying cause that is affecting his ability to learn, you owe it to your child to request a Multi-Factored Evaluation. Download our sample letter template and testing receipt form. Remember, you must make the request in writing.

We suggested hand delivering the letter to the school. Have the person who accepts the letter sign the receipt for the letter. If you cannot hand deliver the letter, mail it certified, requesting a signed receipt. Keep a copy of your letter for your records.

And now you’re all set to request your child’s MFE.

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 “How to Break the ETR Code” by Carole Richards
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1 Tier one is scientifically research-based classroom instruction, monitoring of progress, provide interventions with increasing intesity, make important educational decisions based on data. (Vaughn, Scott Bos 2009) Four Tiers include: 1 — classroom instruction, 2 — small group instructions (regular and special education), 3 — targeting individualized interventions, 4 – long-term intensive individualized instruction. (Baker, Scott K., Ph.D. Paulau 2006)

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman