This page contains questions received by District Implementation Teams, if you do not see your question, please send it to your District Implementation Team Leader or cynthia.dewey@dpi.nc.gov for posting here.

Got questions? Watch this video (35 min) for the frequently asked questions and answers!



Q: What do I do when I have technology issues? Where do I go for support? How do I get access to the system?

A: See our Technology Support page for more information and technology support.

Q: What are the requirements for kindergarten entry for 2017-18?

A: The KEA constructs required for 2017-18 are shown in the diagram below. See also this letter from John Pruette, Executive Director of the Office of Early Learning.
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Q: My school year began at the end of August. By what date do I need to finalize a Status Summary for each of my kindergarten children for the Fall 2017-18 Status Summary Period?
A: A Status Summary is finalized on or about the 60th day of Kindergarten and depicts the teacher's best interpretation of where a child is currently along a construct progression. For schools starting in late August, November 17, 2017 is considered on or about the 60th day of school. The Fall Status Summary Period will end on December 1, 2017 and the Winter Status Summary Period will begin on December 2, 2017.

Q: I am in a year-round school. By what date do I need to make a Status Summary for each of my kindergarten children for the Fall 2017-18 Status Summary Period?
A: A Status Summary is finalized on or about the 60th day of Kindergarten and depicts the teacher's best interpretation of where a child is currently along a construct progression. For year-round schools starting in early July, October 19,, 2017 is considered on or about the 60th day of school. The Fall Status Summary Period will end on December 1, 2017 and the Winter Status Summary Period will begin on December 2, 2017.

Status Summary dates 2017-18 pic.png

Q: What is it? What are we implementing?

A: NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process: A process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to help students improve their achievement of intended instructional outcomes. (AERA/APA/NCME, 2014) (CCSSO, 2006). There are five critical components of the NC Formative Assessment Process on the graphic below. You can download a description of the expected implementation of each here: NC Five Critical Components.
FA Process Image.png

Q: What can this process provide that I can’t get from the many other assessments we implement?
A: The NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process supports continuous teaching and learning by providing teachers, students, and families the information they need to move learning forward. As the name indicates, this K-3 process is formative, meaning that teachers collect and use a variety of evidence to plan daily instruction and support children’s growth and development. In contrast to summative assessment, formative assessment occurs in an ongoing manner during - rather than separate from or at the end of- instruction. Evidence gathered helps teachers identify where students are currently in their learning and informs next steps with instruction. Thus, the K-3 Formative Assessment Process is a process rather than an instrument to be administered. NCDPI adopted the definition of formative assessment in 2006. Recently (2014), this definition was also adopted by the American Education Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). The NC Department of Public Instruction recognizes formative assessment as an important component of 21st Century Balanced Assessment System and has dedicated resources to support its use in NC schools. For more information about NCDPI and the Balanced Assessment System, please visit: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/educators/vision/

Q: Isn’t this the same as MTSS?
A: No. While the NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process and MTSS support each other, there are some differences. NC MTSS is a multi-tiered framework which promotes school improvement through engaging research-based academic and behavioral supports. NC MTSS employs a systems approach using data-driven problem solving to maximize growth for all. The NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to help students improve their achievement of intended instructional outcomes (AERA/APA/NCME, 2014; CCSSO, 2006). There are five critical components of the NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process. You can download a description of the expected implementation of each here: NC Five Critical Components. You can view a brief informational video narrated by John Pruette, Director of the Office of Early Learning at DPI, here.

Q: Is there a minimum number of evidences per child teachers need to complete by the 60th day?

A: No. Teachers will collect the amount of evidence he or she needs to support instruction and learning using their professional wisdom. Teachers will also collect the amount of evidence he or she needs to make a learning status summary.

Q: What is a situation and where do we find them?

A: Situations are support tools and are not required. They are intentionally planned instructional activities designed to give teachers guidance on or examples for how to set up a learning situation to learn about students through observation and probing. You can find them within the Construct Progressions and Situations Booklet.

Q: How will this relate to Standard 6 of the teacher evaluation?

A: Specific safeguards are in place within the Early Learning Challenge Grant that address this question:
  • Results from the K-3 Assessment will be used to provide additional support, professional development, or funding for ELD programs and K-3 classrooms (rather than for accountability or high-stakes purposes).
  • The K-3 Assessment will not be used for accountability or high-stakes purposes (e.g., to evaluate teachers or ELD programs).
  • The K-3 Assessment will include careful safeguards to prevent misuse of the information in decisions made about individual children.
For a handout with additional grant information, click here.

Q: Who sees the Kindergarten Entry Assessment data and how will it be used?
A: The primary value in the data collected by teachers for the KEA and on an ongoing basis throughout the year is for teachers to engage in the Formative Assessment Process in order to learn more about their students. Teachers can utilize the construct progressions as a tool to make professional decisions about how to help their students grow as learners. School administrators may wish to use the data as a basis for conversations with teachers about the types of support teachers need to engage in this process. At the end of the 60-day window of the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) portion of the NC K-3 Formative Assessment Process, DPI collects de-identified, aggregate status summary data (that is, not identified with individual students, teachers, or schools) on all participating kindergarteners in the state. No individual pieces of evidence are collected, only status summaries. These data will help inform decisions about support needed for future implementation.

Q: Is this for all students?

A: Yes. Meeting this goal is important to us. We partnered with educators and content experts with this specific focus in mind during the development and review process. We have specific criteria guiding our work intended to include all students, and the progressions are aligned with the NC Early Learning Standards and the NC Standard Course of Study (developmental age 3 to age 10 for construct progressions).
For more information about the Early Learning Challenge Grant, click here.
We would love to hear your input, if you have specific feedback to share, please email cynthia.dewey@dpi.nc.gov.

Q: Are students with severe or profound cognitive disabilities also included in the kindergarten entry portion of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process?

A: The K-3 Formative Assessment Process stakeholders worked diligently to design an assessment process that is applicable to as many students as possible. In addition, the NC legislation states that every kindergarten student must complete the kindergarten entry assessment within 60 days of enrollment. Therefore, for any child registered as a kindergartener, the expectation is that the teacher would collect evidence (anecdotal notes, work samples, photos, etc.) on the constructs required for kindergarten, enter the evidence into the system, make learning statuses, and finalize status summaries. There is a point on the progressions called, "emerging". If the evidence indicates that the child falls before the first skill on the progression, then the teacher can select "emerging" as the learning status.

Q: What are acceptable accommodations for the KEA assessment?

A: The NC K-3 FAP is part of daily instruction rather than an isolated testing situation. Therefore accommodations that are provided during daily instruction are appropriate for the Kindergarten Entry Assessment. For example, if a child requires assistance to hold a book (e.g., limited use of hands), then the expectation is that the teacher offers assistance as needed. Since this is not a one-on-one task performance assessment, it would be a rare case to contrive a task-oriented situation. Rather, teachers learn about their students during everyday instruction and information can be gathered from the instructional activities in which the student is already participating.

Q: What about those students who cannot be videotaped or photographed?

A: Some families have concerns regarding the use and storage of photographs and videos of their child(ren). These concerns stem from anxiety about data security in a world where security breaches have become far too common. While we have confirmed that Teaching Strategies has never had a security breach, and have communicated that information to families who have expressed concern, we recognize that parents may still choose not to have photographs and videos of their child collected and stored on the electronic platform. Parents certainly have this choice.
Districts already implement a process using some sort of Media Use and Release Permission Form by which parents indicate their preference regarding having their child's photograph taken and used for any media purposes. Districts do not need to create a separate form or process for the K-3 Formative Assessment process. Rather, they can use their existing process to capture parent preferences on this matter. However, it may be helpful for teachers to distinguish between photographs used for public purposes (e.g., school or class website) and those used for educational purposes and stored in a manner that complies with FERPA (eg., K-3 Formative Assessment Platform). In either instance, parents may choose not to have photos/videos taken and stored if they wish.

Q: Who do we contact to observe kindergarten demonstration teachers (one of the teachers in the video)?

A: The teachers in the vision video are NC Demonstration Teachers. Their classrooms are designed as demonstration sites and are open for observation. To get information on how to visit a demonstration site, contact Carla Garrett at carla.garrett@dpi.nc.gov.

Q: Is the Kindergarten Entry considered a benchmark?

A: No. The Kindergarten Entry is phase one of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process. It is ongoing and a part of the instruction and learning process for teachers and students.

Q: What does it look like in the classroom?
A: You can explore the KEA Gallery to read about what teachers said and did during the pilot. If you'd like to visit a demonstration site to observe teachers in person, contact Carla Garrett at carla.garrett@dpi.nc.gov. For more information, visit www.ncpublicschools.org/earlylearning/demo.