Tag Archives: lexiles

Lexile Level Is NOT Text Complexity CCSS.R.10


This Tweet  from #tcrwp (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) on August 15th caught my eye.  A quick glance at the twitter stream confirmed that it came from Stephanie Harvey’s keynote (sigh of envy across the miles).

@amandalah: Careful of lexile: Harry potter, old man & the sea &Alexander & the horrible no good very bad day. All similar lexile. #TCRWP

Hmmm. . .  Harry Potter, Old Man and the Sea, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day are three distinctly different texts that have similar lexile levels!

Was I interested?  Yes!

Did I independently check?  Yes!

Those three books are typically read by readers at these levels:

  • Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad, No Good Day  –  primary grades
  • Harry Potter  –  upper elementary grades
  • Old Man and the Sea  –  high school

But yet they all three have similar lexile levels!  Would that still be where those texts would be read?  Or has that expectation changed with the adoption of the Common Core?

The initial connection to Stephanie Harvey was further confirmed in Twitterverse later:

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So what is a lexile?   And just how is a lexile determined?

The Lexile Framework® for Reading claims to measure a student’s reading ability based on actual assessment, rather than a generalized age or grade level.  It uses a common, developmental scale to match a reader with books, articles and other resources at the right level of difficulty. The Lexile Framework was developed by MetaMetrics®, an educational measurement and research organization that purports to use scientific measures of student achievement to link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.  To date, more than 115,000 books and 80 million articles have Lexile measures, and the number of resources with Lexile measures continues to grow.

HOWEVER, CCSS.R.10 does not use Lexiles alone as a single measure of Text Complexity.  ALL CCSS documents include a three-pronged approach to complexity as evidenced by this graphic and explanation:

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The Common Core specifically says that there are “three equally important parts.”  A lexile measure does not equal text complexity. There are many ways to determine which texts are appropriate for specific grade levels or bands.  Quantitative factors (#2 above) seem to be the easiest to measure.  An addendum to Appendix A suggests that two quantitative measures be used for comparison.  That would mean that Lexiles AND a grade level equivalent could both be considered for a more general “quantitative measure.”  Then qualitative facets would be explored like theme, structure and knowledge demands.  Finally the Reader and Task considerations would be reviewed.

Additional information about text complexity is easily located.  Sarah Brown Wessling’s,  “Teacher of the Year,” viewpoint of text complexity is available at Teaching Channel.

 So just how do these three books compare when looking at multiple data points?

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Which elements of text complexity are you considering when selecting text?
What examples of “Out of Whack Lexiles” have you found?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Addition/ Update =  08.17.13:
  • Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 610L.
  • Twilight garners a Lexile score of 720.
  • A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway 730L.
  • Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8, has a Lexile score of 860.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid has 1000L.
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville has a Lexile of 1200.
  • The Wee Little Woman is a board book by Byron Barton and has a Lexile of 1300.

**According to Titlewave:
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid 950
Fahrenheit 451                   890
Gossip Girl                           820
The Great Gilly Hopkins    800

From @AliBuzzell  new resource on 08.21.13  tweentribune.com/readrank Thanks, Ali!
@doctordea   Brief white paper:  The Lexile Framework:   https://connect.ebsco.com/s/article/The-Lexile-Framework-A-MetaMetrics-White-Paper?language=en_US

Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/book_whisperer/2012/07/guess_my_lexile.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW
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Updated March 25, 2018

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