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The Office of Early Learning (OEL) is implementing a developmentally appropriate, individualized formative assessment process for North Carolina children in kindergarten through third grade. NC’s K-3 Formative Assessment Process aligns with both North Carolina's Early Learning and Development Standards and the Standard Course of Study and focuses on the five domains of development and learning identified within North Carolina’s definition of school readiness:

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Cognitive Development
  • Emotional-Social Development
  • Health & Physical Development
  • Language Development & Communication

The goal of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process is to provide teachers a more complete picture of the whole child and to provide data to inform daily instruction tailored to the individual needs of every child.

The K-3 Formative Assessment Process begins as students enter kindergarten with NC’s Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA). All schools across the state have begun implementing the KEA to capture the knowledge and skills of students within the first 60 days of school. This ongoing assessment process, which is conducted as a seamless part of regular classroom activities, focuses on the same five domains that comprise the broader K-3 Formative Assessment Process.

The development of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process was launched in response to legislation passed by North Carolina's General Assembly, and began with the convening of a “think tank” that included teachers, parents, scholars from NC universities, and other stakeholders. The group was charged with proposing a plan to improve early elementary education through more efficient and effective use of student-centered assessments. The group reviewed scientific findings and best practices and solicited broad input, including survey responses from more than 2,500 teachers and guidance from several dozen state and national scholars and education leaders. For more information, see the report (pdf, 5.1mb) summarizing the think tank's findings, their proposal for an innovative process to improve learning, and their recommendations.


For more information about the K-3 Formative Assessment Process, please visit our wiki. You’ll find links there to resources, FAQs, regional contacts, and registration for upcoming webinars.

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