Beginning-of-Grade 3 Reading Test North Carolina Test Specifications 

Purpose of the Test 

The North Carolina Beginning-of-Grade 3 (BOG3) Reading Test is linked to the Read to Achieve Program and is aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) for English Language Arts, adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education in June 2017. 

The BOG3 Reading Test establishes a baseline measure of beginning third-grade students’ reading skills. Students who score Achievement Level 3 or higher on the BOG3 Reading Test demonstrate reading proficiency appropriate for third-grade students, which satisfies the requirements of the Read to Achieve legislation. 

Based on demonstrated student outcomes in reading proficiency, the BOG3 Reading Test serves as a teacher-growth tool for determining those teachers who are well-suited to teach reading camps (G.S.§115C-83.3[4a]).  

Data from the administration of the BOG3 Reading Test and the End-of-Grade (EOG) Reading Test are used for school-accountability growth. 

Additionally, students in grade 3 who are not proficient on the EOG Reading Test, but are proficient on the BOG3 Test (i.e., achievement level 3 or higher) count as proficient in the performance composite and school performance grades. 

Curriculum Cycle 

April 2017: North Carolina Board of Education adoption of the NCSCOS for English Language Arts 

2017–18:    Item development for the EOG Reading Tests 

2018–19:    Administration of embedded field tests items for the EOG Reading Tests 

2021–22:    First operational administration of the BOG 3 Reading Test (Edition 5) 

Developing Tests 

North Carolina educators were recruited and trained to write new items. The diversity among item writers and their knowledge of the current standards was addressed during recruitment. Trained North Carolina educators also review items and suggest improvements, if necessary. The use of North Carolina educators to develop and review items strengthens the content validity of the assessment. 

For an in-depth explanation of the test development process see North Carolina State Board Policy Multiple-Choice Test Development (TEST-013) or reference the Test Development Process: Item, Selection, and Form Development document.  

Prioritization of Standards 

Members of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI)’s Test Development Section invited North Carolina educators to collaborate and develop recommendations for a prioritization of the standards indicating the relative importance of each standard, the anticipated instructional time, and the appropriateness of the standard for test design.  

Subsequently, Academic Standards and Test Development staff from the NCDPI met to review the recommendations from the teacher panels and to adopt final weight distributions across the domains for each grade level.  

Table 1 describes the range of total items by domain that will appear on the test. The BOG3 Reading Test only assesses reading standards, as seen in Table 2.  

Table 1. BOG3 Reading domain weight distributions. 


Range of Total Items  

Reading for Literature 


Reading for Informational Text 






Table 2. BOG3 Reading standards assessed.  


Grade 3 

Reading for Literature 





















Reading for Information 


























Cognitive Rigor and Item Complexity 

Test items have been designed, developed, and classified to ensure that the cognitive rigor of the test form aligns to the cognitive complexity and demands Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and of the NCSCOS for English Language Arts reading standards. Items on the assessment cover the full breadth and depth of grade-level cognitive expectation that can be assessed using the current test format.  

Testing Structure and Test Administration Time 

The BOG3 Reading Test is an equivalent form of the Grade 3 EOG Reading Test. 

Table 3 provides the number of selections and items by selection, and total number items for the BOG3 Reading Test. The test contains forty total items. The BOG3 Reading Test does not have embedded field test items. 

To balance between complexity and the reading load for grade 3 students, each selection within the BOG3 Reading Test is divided into two separate parts. Items within each selection have also been divided and presented at the end of each subsequent part. 

Table 3. BOG3 Reading total number of selections and items. 


Number of Selections 

Items per Selection 

Total Number of Items 

BOG3 Reading 


The test will consist of four-response-option multiple-choice items. Each item is worth one point. 

The estimated test administration time is the time that the Annual Testing Program estimates it will take nearly all students to complete the test. The estimated time allotted for the BOG3 Reading Test is ninety minutes. However, students who need more than the estimated time to complete the test may be allowed an additional ninety minutes to work. As long as students are engaged and working and the maximum time of 180 minutes has not been reached, they must be given time to complete the test. Refer to the North Carolina Test Coordinators’ Policies and Procedures Handbook on the Testing Policy and Operations webpage for additional information. 

Test Cycle and Delivery Mode 

The BOG3 Reading Test must be administered during the state-designated testing window. For administration dates, please reference the North Carolina Operational Testing Calendar on the Testing and School Accountability webpage

The BOG3 Reading Test is only provided in English. Native language translation versions are not available. North Carolina G.S.§115C-81.45(a) requires all teachers and principals to conduct classes, except foreign language classes, in English. 

The BOG3 Reading Test is required to be administered in online administrations.  

Online tests are provided through NCTest, the NCDPI’s online testing platform. Schools must ensure every student participating in an online test for the North Carolina Testing Program completes the Online Assessment Tutorial for the associated test at least once at the school before test day. The tutorial provides students the opportunity to practice the mechanics of navigating through the testing platform, to become familiar with the tools, and to respond to the sample items. Refer to the North Carolina Test Coordinators’ Policies and Procedures Handbook on the Testing Policy and Operations webpage for additional information. 

Paper versions of all online tests, including required online administrations, are available for students with disabilities who need to test in the paper mode for accessibility. Students participating in paper administrations must complete the BOG3 Practice Activity before test day. The BOG3 Practice Activity is not a test. It provides students with an opportunity to become familiar with the standardized testing format before the administration of the BOG3 Reading Test. 

Supplemental Materials and Additional Resources 

All students must be provided scratch paper and a writing utensil. 

Released forms are available on the EOG webpage and to schools through NCTest, the NCDPI’s online testing platform. The BOG3 Reading Test is an equivalent form of the EOG Grade 3 Reading Test. Parents and schools should reference the Grade 3 EOG Reading released form. The released form is built using the same operational test specifications. A single released test form may not reflect the full breadth and depth of grade-level assessed standards, but it reflects the range of difficulty found on any EOG operational test form. At this time, the released forms for the EOG Reading Tests may not include all reading selections for print due to copyright permissions. The NCDPI has obtained copyright permissions only of web viewing for some selections.  

Released forms may be used by public school units to help acquaint students with items. These materials must not be used for personal or financial gain, are copyrighted to the NCDPI, and cannot be uploaded into third party applications. Released items may be accessed via NCTest by clicking on the released items icon. 

Achievement level information is available on the EOG webpage. Parents and schools may reference the Grade 3 Reading Achievement Level Descriptors when reviewing a student’s BOG3 Reading Test results. 

A sample BOG3 Individual Student Report is available on the Individual Student Reports (ISRs) webpage

The Grade 3 BOG Assessment Brief provides an overview of the BOG3 Reading Test. 

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