The Alberta government will work with University of Alberta professor George Georgiou to support a voluntary program that focuses on reading deficits among early learners across the province.

“We know COVID-19 is having an impact on student learning. The first step is to find out what the impacts are. These assessments will help us understand how to better support student success in the classroom during these crucial early years, and address learning gaps that were created from the pandemic.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

Alberta’s government will work with school authorities that volunteer to run the program. Results will be shared with school authorities. Classrooms participating in this program will be provided with a short training video to help teachers prepare, as well as access to additional staffing to support administering the test.   

“Assessment provides the critical information teachers need to intervene. I’m thrilled to see these tools rolling out in Alberta to ensure student success.”

George Georgiou, professor, University or Alberta

To help inform assessment practices in the early years (Grades 1-3), Alberta Education is partnering with the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) to engage superintendents to better understand current assessment practices employed by school authorities. This work will help inform long-term planning related to student assessments.

Key facts

  • The Letter Name-Sound (LeNS) test and the Castles and Coltheart Test (CC3), will be used.
  • The tests take approximately four to six minutes to complete with each student in a one-on-one setting.
  • Teachers will administer the one-on-one tests in their own classrooms, and substitute teachers will provide support.
  • For this program, the cost of substitute teachers will be covered by Alberta Education.
  • The approximate cost of the program is about $100,000.
  • These screening tests can help identify if students have reading difficulties.
  • The results of these assessments can help inform teaching in the classroom and will help school authorities to allocate the necessary resources to address the concerns.
  • Participation will be on a voluntary basis.