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A Guide to Success: Taking the Mystery Out of Lexile Measures

A Guide to Success: Taking the Mystery Out of Lexile Measures

Did you know that over one hundred million books, articles, and websites to date have been assigned Lexile® measures? The ever-popular and trusted MetaMetrics’® Lexile® Framework for Reading is a common leveling system that schools, districts, and even state education agencies use to measure reading growth. Today, we’ll take a closer look at how this scale works, how to implement best practices for interpreting measures, and what to do when you receive multiple conflicting Lexile measures.

What is the Lexile Framework for Reading?

The Lexile Framework for Reading boils down to a scientific approach of matching a student’s reading ability with appropriate reading materials. It places both the reader and text on the same developmental scale. Using this model, students are exposed to just the right level of texts in order to be successful. MetaMetrics has determined that this targeted reading level occurs at 75% comprehension, where students are exposed to just enough challenge to engage them, without too much to discourage them.

So, how do students receive a Lexile measure in the first place? MetaMetrics works with a variety of trusted industry partners, including Edmentum, to develop research studies that correlate Lexile growth scores with scores from partner assessments. If you use an assessment that provides a Lexile measure, then it is safe to say that estimates of a student’s reading ability are correlated to a Lexile measure reported from the assessment.

How should Lexile measures be interpreted?

Measures are written as a number followed by an “L” for Lexile on a 0L–1300L scale. You can think about this framework like a thermometer. Just like a thermometer has negative numbers, emergent readers may receive measures below 0L, indicated as Beginning Reader levels using the codes BR0L–BR300L.

Keep in mind that when you’re looking to determine a student’s reading level, or “sweet spot,” it is important to look at his or her Lexile measure as more of a range from 100L below to 50L above his or her reported measure. For example, if a student receives a 275L measure from an assessment, he or she should be comfortable reading texts between a 175L–325L targeted reading range.

What should you do if you receive multiple, conflicting Lexile measures?

There are a lot of different circumstances to consider when accounting for differing Lexile measures. So, before you immediately discount one source as incorrect, consider these three common factors that impact a student’s test results, as outlined by MetaMetrics. First, there are student factors. A student’s performance can be highly influenced by motivation, alertness, fatigue, and his or her overall state of mind. Additionally, there are test factors to consider. A progress-monitoring test will provide different information about a student than an end-of-year test, and these specific testing designs may result in multiple Lexile measures. Finally, administration factors, including distractions, environment, or test security, can cause different results for a student’s performance.

Even if you understand these different factors, you’re still left with multiple conflicting measures to manage—what do you do with them? MetaMetrics also offers a Managing Multiple Measures Tool to help you synthesize the information you receive from multiple sources in order to recommend an appropriate measure you can use during daily instruction. Leverage this tool to overcome the challenges of receiving varying measures, and consider different methods to reduce these inconsistencies going forward. Managing strategies include collecting even more data over time, maintaining consistent test practices, and communicating with parents and students about test-tasking procedures.

How can Lexile measures be used in the classroom?

MetaMetrics and its proven partners offer a variety of tips and resources to ensure that your students’ Lexile measures are integrated as an important part of a learner’s targeted reading journey.  You can make metrics a rich part of your data conversations with such strategies as organizing your classroom library by Lexile level and finding a digital provider that can accurately provide Lexile measures which has completed a research study with MetaMetrics. Additionally, don’t forget to leverage some of the powerful (and free) tools available on the Lexile website to help you pinpoint “just right” books and chart potential Lexile growth for each of your students.

Interested in getting more information about how you can put Lexile measures into practice in your classroom? Check out this blog to look deeper into four ways to turn this metric into a powerhouse of instructional information!

METAMETRICS®, LEXILE®, and LEXILE® FRAMEWORK are trademarks of MetaMetrics, Inc., and are registered in the United States and abroad. Copyright © 2018 MetaMetrics, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Madison Michell

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.