Paige Jaeger, Coordinator of School Library Services for WSWHE BOCEs in New York, offers the basics of Lexiles 101, including how they fit into Common Core Standards.
- The Common Core has defined where “college and career ready” (CCR) students should be reading and it’s a 1450 Lexile. Therefore, they scaffolded in reverse levels to graduate students at the appropriate level. These Lexile levels are more difficult than where typical students are reading.
- Lexile is an algorithm. It is a mathematical assessment of a linguistic product.
- Lexiles (and other readability statistics) are fallible. (For instance, it is not valid for prose or drama and is less valid for fiction in 1000+ Lexile range.)
- The parent organization to the CCSS, (CCSSO formally called the Governor’s convention) recently released a white paper verifying the validity of text complexity. Therefore, we have to pay attention to this essential shift to embrace “rigor” in reading.
- To read the recent white paper from the Council of Chief State School Officers click here. This article compares a number of algorithms and the summarizes text complexity for the CCSS.
- Text complexity formulas were meant for instructional purposes.
- Pleasure reading should be allowed at any level and this is validated in the Common Core, Appendix A, page 9, paragraph 1:
CCS does not require teachers to select texts based only on complexity.
The Common Core has asked teachers to evaluate classroom materials for quality as well as quantity. Complexity is only one piece of the puzzle. In addition, a teacher, librarian, or educator, has to pay attention to:
- Complexity – Lexile, vocabulary
- Qualitative measures -value
- Reader and the task -is there enough in the text to foster good discussion, value -added assignments, and begin a knowledge exploration. How can I use this novel or passage to foster critical thinking skills?
Jaeger writes that “Microsoft Word’s Flesch-Kincaid measure has also been proven valid”. That’s good to know since I find it is a handy tool to use in assessing writing.