NC Check-Ins Reading Grades 3 and 6 Test Specifications

NC Check-Ins Overview and Purpose 

NC Check-Ins are interim assessments aligned to North Carolina grade-level content standards in Reading for grades 3 and 6 developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). There are three NC Check-Ins at each grade level.  It is suggested to have approximately nine weeks of instruction between administrations. For Reading, each NC Check-In focuses on a selected sub-set of grade-level content standards. 

The main purpose of NC Check-Ins is to provide students, teachers, parents, and stakeholders with immediate in-depth action-data and a reliable estimate of students’ current performance on the selected sub-set of content standards. A secondary purpose is derived from NC Check-Ins strong relationship with grade level end-of-grade (EOG) summative test. Both EOGs and NC Check-Ins share a common item bank, and performance on the NC Check-Ins serve as an early indicator of a student’s level of preparedness for the EOG summative test. 

The NCDPI does not have validity evidence to support using results from NC Check-Ins as a predictor of student performance on the EOG summative test. Even though there is evidence of a significant correlation between scores from NC Check-Ins and EOGs, this correlation evidence by itself does not signify prediction. The overall value of NC Check-Ins is the use of in-depth action-data for formative purposes throughout the year to help students and teachers adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes. 

Reading NC Check-Ins Grades 3 and 6 

  • An assessment specification meeting for Reading at grade 6 was held in June 2015. The NCDPI/Test Development Section invited North Carolina teachers and educators to collaborate and develop recommendations for standards to be assessed, indicating the relative importance of each standard, the anticipated instructional time, and the appropriateness of the standard for different question types for the 2015–16 Proof of Concept Study. 

  • A focus group meeting for grade 6 was held in June 2016. The NCDPI/Test Development Section invited North Carolina teachers and educators to collaborate and develop recommendations for the 2016–17 NC Check-In. 

  • The NC Check-Ins are aligned to the NC Standard Course of Study (NCSCS) for English Language Arts, adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education in June 2017. 

  • NC Check-In 1, 2 and 3 will assess the same reading standards. All students are expected to be able to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through a grade. The text complexity of the selections chosen for the NC Check-Ins study will increase throughout the year. 


NC Check-Ins 

Standards Expected to be Assessed 


o RL.1, RL.2, RL.3, RL.4 

o L.4, L.5.a 

o RI.1, RI.2, RI.3, RI.4, RI.8 


o RL.1, RL.2, RL.3, RL.4, RL.5, RL.6 

o L.4, L.5.a 

o RI.1, RI.2, RI.3, RI.4, RI.5, RI.6, RI.8 

  • Each Reading NC Check-In will contain 22–24 questions. Students will see four-response-option multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth 1 point. 

  • Each Reading NC Check-In will include three selections. The charts below provide the anticipated number of selections (i.e., poetry, informational, literature) for each NC Check-In by grade level. 

Reading NC Check-Ins Grades 3 and 6 

Number of Poetry Selections 

Number of Informational Selections 

Number of Literature Selections 

NC Check-In 1 

NC Check-In 2 

NC Check-In 3 


The NCDPI offers three NC Check-Ins per grade level within a school year. Participation in any NC Check-In is entirely voluntary. Proctors are not recommended for the administration of an NC Check-In. NC Check-Ins are not timed assessments. However, the recommended time for most students to complete a twenty-five item NC Check-In is about ninety minutes. It is a local decision to allow students more than ninety minutes to work on the assessment. 

Student Reviews, Scores, and Reports 

Teachers have access to students’ test books (for paper administrations) or an electronic copy of the NC Check-In (for online administrations) to use for review sessions with students. Within five days of administering an NC Check-In and submitting student responses, school administrators and teachers have access to student, class, and school-level custom reports generated by NCDPI scoring and reporting software. These reports provide a summary of standard level performance expressed as number and percent of items answered correctly by student, classroom, and school. These reports are intended to support formative uses at the classroom and school level.  

Comparing performance of schools across public school units is highly discouraged because schools are not assumed to be following the same pacing or curriculum. Schools are not expected to have completed the entire scope for all standards assessed in a NC Check-In prior to the administration because curriculum pacing is a local decision.   

 The NCDPI produces a state aggregate report with the summary of percent correct by item grouped by standard. The purpose of this report is to provide a reference on the empirical difficulty of items administered in the NC Check-In.   



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