1997, 1999). All of the major principles in the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) (1975, 1977), the forerunner of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), have significant implications for assessment activities related to the determination of eligibility and the development of appropriate educational programs. For example, the most basic of the EHA/IDEA principles, access to appropriate educational services at public expense, vastly increased the number, complexity, and severity of students with disabilities in public school settings. Other principles, such as least restrictive environment, due process procedural protections, individualized educational programs, and confidentiality and parental access to records have similar vast implications for assessment that are beyond the discussion here (Reschly, 2000).
The greatest legal influences on the determination of special education need and eligibility for disability status are the regulations governing assessment and decision making with children and youth with disabilities, first promulgated on August 23, 1977, as the Protection in Evaluation Procedures Provisions (PEP) (Education of All Handicapped Children Act, 1975, 1977). Specific features of these regulations were derived, often verbatim, from the previous consent decrees that settled class action court cases (Diana v. State Board of Education [Diana], 1970; Guadalupe Organization v. Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 [Guadalupe], 1972; Mills v. Board of Education [Mills], 1972; Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [PARC], 1972). Incorporated into the PEP from these cases were regulations that required: (1) a comprehensive, individualized evaluation; (2) nondiscrimination regarding ethnic and cultural minorities; (3) consideration of multiple domains of behavior and not just a single measure such as IQ; and (4) decision making by a team of professionals with the participation of parents. The dual purposes of the PEP regulations were to ensure that all students with genuine disabilities were considered for special education and, conversely, those students with learning patterns and behaviors that appeared to be disabilities but were, in fact, due to cultural differences were not determined to be eligible for special education due to a disability. Not surprisingly untangling the differences between individual factors and cultural influences has been nearly impossible.
The PEP regulations were not changed from 1977 until March 12, 1999, when the regulations for IDEA 1997 were published as the Procedures for Evaluation and Determination of Eligibility (PEDE) (34 CFR 300.530 to 34 CFR 300.543 (see Appendix 6-A at the end of this chapter). The change in title was accompanied by expansion from approximately 1,100 to approximately 1,900 words. The section of the regulations devoted to Additional Procedures for Evaluating Children with Specific Learning Disabilities (34 CFR 300.541 through 300.543) did not change and has