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Measures of Student Learning/Common Exams

This year, North Carolina schools will begin administering a new set of common exams called the Measures of Student Learning/Common Exams (MSL/CE). These common exams will measure student growth in core subjects and grades. We will start administering these tests at the end of this school year – Spring 2013, during the EOG/EOC testing window. The main purpose of these tests is to measure a teacher’s contribution to the academic growth of their students.

For elementary and middle school students taking the Science and/or Social Studies MSL/CE Assessments, no test scores will be provided. For middle and high school students enrolled in high school courses, the MSL/CEs will serve as the course’s final exam. As per district policy, these exams will account for 20% of the final grade.

What subjects will be tested using the MSL/CEs?

  • Science in grade 4 (select schools only)
  • Science in grades 6 and 7
  • Social Studies in grades 4 (select schools only)
  • Social Studies in grades 6-8
  • The following high school courses:
    • Science: Earth Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Physical Science
    • ELA: ELA I
    • ELA III
    • ELA IV
    • Math: Pre-Calculus
    • Advanced Functions and Modeling
    • Geometry
    • Common Core Math II
    • Common Core Math III
    • Algebra II
    • SS: World History
    • Civics and Economics
    • U.S. History
    • OCS: OCS ELA I
    • OCS ELA IV
    • OCS Financial Management
    • OCS Applied Science
    • OCS Instroductory Math (Math I)

Who is required to participate?
Select elementary students in grades 4-5 and all students in grades 6-8, plus students enrolled in certain high school courses, must participate in the common exams with the following exceptions:

  • Students in International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses
  • Students with certain disabilities who normally take NCExtend 1 tests
  • Students enrolled in virtual or online courses
  • Students re-taking a course for purposes of credit recovery
  • Students enrolled in online courses taught by persons not employed by WCPSS (e.g. early college courses taught by college professors)
  • Students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) who score below Level 4.0 Expanding on the state-identified English language proficiency reading placement test and are in their first year in U.S. schools are not required to take ELA I, III, IV, OCS ELA I, III, or IV.
  • In rare cases, students who qualify for a medical exception

Most students with disabilities will participate in the common exam using the accommodations they normally use for classroom assessments.

More information:
For more information on Measures of Student Learning/Common Exams (MSL/CE), visit the NCDPI website: