Lexile Measures Now Better Match Beginning Readers to Text

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Popular Reading Metric More Precise for K-2 Content

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A team of experienced psychometricians, reading researchers and external experts came together to advance the science behind measuring text complexity.

To better encourage and measure reading growth for even the youngest learner, MetaMetrics®, developer of The Lexile® Framework for Reading, today announced new enhancements to its widely adopted leveling system. Now beginning readers will more easily be able to find books that are matched to their skill level, fostering more rapid reading growth.

The Lexile Framework for Reading is a scientific approach to measuring reading ability and the text demand of reading materials. The Lexile Framework involves a scale for measuring both reading ability of an individual and the text complexity of materials he or she encounters. Tens of millions of students worldwide receive Lexile measures to help them choose targeted readings from more than 100 million articles, books and websites that have been measured.

“Considering that our research suggests that a large proportion of growth occurs by the end of third grade , it’s essential that we equip educators and parents with the best tools and means for ensuring student success,” said Malbert Smith III, Ph.D., CEO, president and co-founder of MetaMetrics. “To accomplish this, a team of experienced psychometricians, reading researchers and external experts came together to advance the science behind measuring text complexity. We are thrilled to make our multi-year research available to the educators, parents and education companies.”

Three major enhancements now more precisely match early-reading materials to students. First, the 2000-point Lexile scale was extended to measure students and texts below 0L. Previously, all books measuring below 0L were given a standalone “BR” (Beginning Reader) code. Now, thanks to extensive research, texts with a BR code will also receive a Lexile measure (e.g., BR100L). The addition of a Lexile measure for books below 0L allows for greater differentiation at the beginner level.

Second, materials read in K–2 classrooms are now being measured across more dimensions. Based on input from teachers and reading specialists and through studies on the reading behaviors of young students, MetaMetrics’ researchers identified nine variables that most accurately and reliably measure text complexity of K–2 content. This nine-variable model was incorporated into the algorithm that is used to determine the Lexile measure of a book or piece of text.

Finally, new information, called “early-reading indicators,” is being provided for K–2 content to help identify text features that could present more or less of a challenge. By knowing which text features are contributing to the text complexity of early-reading materials, educators and parents can better select a text for a particular reader. For example, a text with low decoding demands and a low decoding early-reading indicator (i.e., many easy-to-decode words) could be selected for a student who is ready to apply their knowledge of basic sound and letter relationships and patterns to practice reading books on their own. The early-reading indicators can also be used to ensure that a reader is getting exposed to a variety of different types of reading materials.

“I was privileged to be part of the team that examined early-grade texts to determine their unique features and enhanced the Lexile Framework to account for them,” said prominent researcher Elfrieda Hiebert, Ph.D., CEO, and president of TextProject. “Educators can now get information about which aspects of texts are more or less demanding at early reading levels. Early-Reading Indicators help to illuminate the wide variety of texts for young readers such as highly decodable books and books with repetitive structures that help foster development of the many skills necessary for high levels of reading with comprehension.”

This extension of the Lexile scale greatly benefits both beginning readers and the companies that provide learning resources to them. By providing Lexile measures below 0L, Lexile measures are now reported for the simplest texts. Currently, many commercial education companies and publishers utilize Lexile measures to provide the most used and researched metric for text complexity in their product or service. Now publishers and ed tech companies can also deliver that same accuracy and reliability to students in the earliest grades.

While the tool to place text on the Lexile scale has been enhanced, the numeric value of the Lexile measure has not changed. Lexile text measures provide valuable information about a text’s difficulty and are recognized as the standard for individually matching readers with texts. When students read text within their Lexile range, they are more likely to comprehend it, while still being sufficiently challenged to maintain interest and learning.

For education companies and publishers who want to learn more about this latest innovation, visit metametricsinc.com/beginning-readers.

For educators who want to learn more about better matching readers to text, visit lexile.com/beginning-readers.

About MetaMetrics®
MetaMetrics is focused on improving education for learners of all ages and ability levels. The organization develops scientific measures of academic achievement and complementary technologies that link assessment results with real-world instruction. MetaMetrics' products and services for reading (The Lexile® Framework for Reading, El Sistema Lexile® para Leer), mathematics (The Quantile® Framework for Mathematics) and writing (The Lexile® Framework for Writing) provide unique insights about academic ability and the potential for growth, enabling individuals to achieve their goals at every stage of development. Connect with the organization at: metametricsinc.com/blog.

[1] MetaMetrics Lexile Construct Norms (2017). Durham, NC.

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