• What is the NC ELI?

    The NC Early Learning Inventory (NC ELI) is an observation-based formative assessment that supports teaching and learning by helping students and families understand the learning and developmental needs of each child as they grow and develop. 


    WHY is it important?

    In North Carolina, approximately 120,000 children enter Kindergarten, each year, with varying experiences, knowledge, and skills.  The NC ELI helps teachers and families gain an ongoing understanding of the strengths and needs of each child as a way to help ensure that each child reaches his or her fullest potential.


    WHAT happens?

    Teachers begin to collect information about children to guide teaching and learning. The information collected during the first 60 days of Kindergarten creates a child profile, a snapshot of each child's learning development in key areas.  Teachers use this understanding, as well as information throughout the school year, to meet the specific learning needs of each child.


    HOW does it work? 

    The teacher intentionally collects documentation about what children say, do, make, or write  (e.g., observations, work samples, parent input, activities) while instruction is occurring and learning is underway. Due to the integrated use of the NC ELI, it can be done with students online and in-person.

    It occurs across five areas of learning and development: 

    • Language & Literacy
    • Cognitive/Mathematic
    • Cognitive/Approaches to Learning
    • Emotional-Social
    • Physical Development 


    The teacher use of the information collected through the formative assessment process helps to better understand where a child is developmentally in his or her learning. This helps the teacher make immediate and ongoing adjustments to instruction and learning.
    A secure electronic platform stores the collected student information to support sound instructional decision-making.
    The materials developed as the foundation for this process align with both the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development and the NC Standard Course of Study.