Independent Research Confirms Accuracy, Reliability and Validity of Pearson's Reading Maturity Metric

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Instant Measure of Text Difficulty Now Available Online


Independent research funded by the Gates Foundation confirms that Pearson's new Reading Maturity Metric (RMM) is highly accurate, reliable and valid.

In response to the Common Core State Standards initiative, a collaborative competition sponsored by the Gates Foundation and conducted by Student Achievement Partners (SAP) was held to create and evaluate automatic measures of the complexity of texts. Pearson was one of six groups that submitted results from the effort. The measures of success posed for the participants included predictions of school grades, comprehension of texts by reader age, difficulty as judged by reading-teachers nominated through the Common Core State Standards, plus a number of more specialized measures. A wide variety of texts, both informational and narrative were used in the analyses.

The results detailed in the report, "Measures of Text Difficulty: Testing Their Predictive Value for Grade Levels and Student Performance," concluded that Pearson's RMM is reliable and highly correlated with grade level and student performance-based measures of text difficulty across the whole variety of text sets and reference measures.

Commenting on other aspects of the effort, Thomas Landauer, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Knowledge Technologies, a Pearson business, said the two most accurate measures, Pearson's and that of Education Testing Services (ETS), were equally accurate, both more than 30 percent more accurate than past measures, but varied substantially in methodology.

Developed by Pearson scientists and engineers, the RMM is largely based on a novel computer technology that measures how close an individual student's knowledge of the meaning of words have become to the level needed for college and careers. This method also avoids the human editing done by ETS and some others in the competition.

The development of the RMM is detailed in a white paper, “Pearson’s Text Complexity Measure," available at

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

For more information:
Adam Gaber, Pearson
800-745-8489 / adam.gaber(at)pearson(dot)com / @apgaber (twitter)


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