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Assessment & Referral Process

STAGE 1: Classroom Screening and Monitoring

Teachers regularly assess and evaluate the progress of their students. If a student is experiencing difficulty in school (e.g. academic, social, behavioural), teachers will review previous and current assessment and evaluation information, communicate with parents/guardians and gather other information around the learning profile of the student. If challenges persist, the student may be referred to an In-School Support Team (IST).

STAGE 2: Referral to In-School Support Team

The role of the In-School Support Team (IST) is to review and discuss students who may be having difficulty in school (e.g., academic, social, behavioural) and work collaboratively to develop, monitor and evaluate action plans and strategies to help the student. After the teacher has gathered information and reviewed assessment material (e.g. diagnostic tests, recent work samples, direct observation), the information is recorded on an Individual Learning Profile (ILP) to be shared at the IST. The ILP tracks on-going assessments, instructional levels, interventions, recommendations, outcomes and follow-up strategies to address the needs of the student. Based on this information, the teacher(s) can provide instruction that is personalized, targeting the critical skills that the student requires. Most student needs can be addressed by the IST.  

When the strategies recommended by the IST have limited success, the IST can refer the student to the School Support Team (SST).

STAGE 3: Referral to School Support Team

Similar to the IST, the role of the School Support Team (SST) is to review and discuss students who may be having difficulty in school (e.g. academic, social, behavioural) and work collaboratively to develop, monitor and evaluate action plans and strategies to help the student.

In addition to school staff, this team offers additional knowledge by including psychologists, social workers, attendance counsellors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, parents or caregivers and students over 16 years of age.

Parental and Student Involvement in the IST/SST Process

Parents are the most valuable partner in a child’s education. Although parental attendance at the IST and SST meetings is not mandatory, we encourage them to participate. If parents cannot attend, they will be informed about any plan of action recommended at the meeting to address their child’s needs.

When a member of the TDSB’s professional support services attends the meeting, such as a psychologist or social worker, parental permission is required if the student is to be discussed by name.

Students over 16 years of age are also encouraged to participate and must be consulted. Students 18 years of age or older must be invited to attend the SST and give permission for their personal information to be shared with their parents.

The SST may recommend a referral to the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). 

STAGE 4: Referral to an Identification, Placement and Review Committee

A student’s assessment findings may suggest to the SST that referral to an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) would be appropriate for possible identification as an “exceptional pupil”. A recommendation to consider a student for an IPRC requires careful analysis of the effectiveness of instructional interventions that have been tried with the student and thorough understanding of the student’s learning strengths and needs.

IPRC requests are made by the school principal on recommendation of the SST or following a written request by parent(s)/guardian(s).


The role of the IPRC is to review assessment and evaluation material about a student. They will decide if a student is exceptional and if so, they specify the type of exceptionality and decide an appropriate placement for the student - Regular Class or Special Education Class. Placement in the regular class could involve a special education teacher working with the student for less than half the school day. Placement in a Special Education Class would involve a special education teacher working with the student for more than half the school day.

An annual IPRC review is held for each student identified as exceptional. The student's progress, strengths and needs will be discussed. As with an original IPRC, the committee will decide if a student is exceptional and if so, they specify the type of exceptionality and decide an appropriate placement for the student - Regular Class or Special Education Class.

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