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In response to the learning loss identified in a pilot during the 2021/22 school year and the Child and Youth Well-being Review Panel recommendations, Alberta’s government is using a phased approach to implementing mandatory literacy and numeracy screening tools for students in grades 1 to 3, making sure students are receiving essential foundational learning in the critical early years of their education. Beginning in September 2022, school authorities will be required to administer literacy and numeracy screening assessments, selected from an approved list on These mandatory screening assessments will be phased in at schools across the province for grades 2 and 3 students, followed by grade 1 students in January 2023. School authorities must re-assess all at-risk students again at the end of the school year to measure their progress. Results will be submitted to Alberta Education to help inform future policy and programming.

Assessing students in their early years provides essential information to teachers, parents and government about potential student learning issues and needs, and ensures students at risk get the help they need sooner. Literacy and numeracy assessments will continue to support student learning as curriculum implementation moves forward in September 2022.

These mandatory screening assessments are separate from Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) that are currently used by some school authorities to assess outcomes related to literacy and numeracy in language arts and mathematics in the current grade 2 provincial programs of study. SLAs remain optional.


Early numeracy and early literacy are 2 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. These screening assessments will provide a means to monitor growth over time. School authorities may use government-provided literacy and numeracy screening assessments or a government-approved alternative screening assessment.


School authorities may use the government-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 government-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 current and draft 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.



Connect with Student Learning Assessments and Provincial Achievement Testing:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Kelly Rota, Director, Student Learning Assessments and Provincial Achievement Testing
Phone: 780-427-6204
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Nicole Lamarre, Director, French Assessment
Phone: 780-422-3535
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Student Learning Assessments and Provincial Achievement Testing
Alberta Education
6th Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5E6

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