Early years assessments

Information about literacy and numeracy screening assessments for all students in Grades 1 to 3.


In 2022/23 literacy and numeracy assessments became mandatory, ensuring students are receiving essential foundational learning in the critical early years of their education. School authorities are required to administer literacy and numeracy screening assessments selected from an approved list on New.LearnAlberta.ca. These mandatory screening assessments are currently completed in schools across the province for Grades 2 and 3 students at the start of the school year, followed by Grade 1 students completing these screening assessments starting in January 2023. School authorities must re-assess all students identified as at-risk in Grades 1 to 3, at the end of the school year to measure their progress.

Assessing students in their early years provides essential information to teachers, schools, parents and Alberta Education about potential student learning issues and needs and ensures students at risk get the help they need early in their education.

Schools and school authorities are required to share their results on literacy and numeracy for students in Grades 1 to 3 with their stakeholders through their Annual Education Results Reporting and engage with them to set priorities and build their education plan. This approach helps the province, school authorities and schools track successes and continuously improve the quality of education for students. It also supports a transparent, accountable and responsive education system.

Literacy and numeracy assessments will continue to support student learning as curriculum is implemented in the 2023-24 school year for the English language arts and literature and Mathematics curriculums.


Early numeracy and early literacy are two important skill areas that develop during early childhood. These screening assessments will help teachers identify students in the critical early years who are most in need of additional support and provide a means to monitor growth over time. School authorities may use Alberta Education-provided literacy and numeracy screening assessments or an Alberta Education-approved alternative screening assessment. These resources can be accessed on the New.LearnAlberta.ca portal.


School authorities may use the Alberta Education-provided English and French literacy assessments. It is important to understand the assessment focus of each assessment to ensure the appropriateness of the assessment(s) for students.

The English Letter Name-Sound (LeNS) assessment is designed to ensure a student has the foundational phonics skills to develop into an independent reader. LeNS assesses a student’s ability to sound out single letters and letter combinations (for example, n, d, e, ch, ay, oa, oy). The Tests Nom et son des lettres (NSLe) is the French equivalent of the English LeNS Test. It assesses a student’s ability to sound out single letters and French letter combinations (for example, a,s r,ou, ch, ain).

The Castles and Coltheart 3 (CC3) assessment is an English word-reading test designed to identify the nature of a student’s reading difficulties. CC3 assesses a student’s ability to recall familiar and irregular words (for example, take, hand, island, cough), and their ability to sound out non words (for example, norf, framp, gurve) that were created specially for this assessment and are meant to be fictitious and without meaning. The Test Castle et Coltheart 3 (CC3) is the French equivalent of the English CC3 assessment.


School authorities may use the Alberta Education-provided numeracy screening assessments which are available in English and French. The numeracy screening assessments are a collection of tasks designed to help teachers understand their students’ underlying knowledge of the number system, basic number operations and proportional reasoning skills. Although the tasks are designed to reflect curricular knowledge and expectations found in the elementary Mathematics curriculum, they are not curriculum-based assessments. Alberta curriculum was used as a guideline to keep curriculum requirements within the range of each task expectation, with the understanding that students would generally perform at or better than these very minimal standards.

Provincial assessment programs, including early years assessments, are meant to complement, not replace, day-to-day teacher observations and classroom assessment. They are sources of information that must be interpreted, used and communicated within the context of regular and continuous assessment by classroom teachers.


Literacy assessment video series

The following literacy assessment videos feature Dr. George Georgiou and Dr. Rauno Parrila.


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Student Learning Assessments and Provincial Achievement Testing
Alberta Education
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Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5E6