Lexile FAQ's

Lexile FAQ's

1. What is The Lexile Framework for Reading?
The Lexile Framework® for Reading is a scientific approach to reading and text measurement. It includes the Lexile® measure and the Lexile scale. The Lexile measure is a reading ability or text difficulty score followed by an “L” (e.g., “850L”). The Lexile scale is a developmental scale for reading ranging from below 200L for beginning-reader material to above 1700L for advanced text.
2. How is a text's Lexile measure determined?
Lexile measures are based on two well-established predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: semantic difficulty (word frequency) and syntactic complexity (sentence length). In order to Lexile a book or article, text is split into 125-word slices. Each slice is compared to the nearly 600-million word Lexile corpus – taken from a variety of sources and genres – and words in each sentence are counted. These calculations are put into the Lexile equation. Then, each slice’s resulting Lexile measure is applied to the Rasch psychometric model to determine the Lexile measure for the entire text.

For example, books like "Arthur and the Recess Rookie" (370L), "Arthur Goes to Camp" (380L) and "Arthur, Clean Your Room!" (370L) fall within the Lexile Range of a typical second grader. These books have shorter sentences and words appear frequently. Conversely, books in the "Harry Potter" series (which measure between 880L and 950L), "Little Women" (1300L) and "Don Quixote" (1410L) contain longer sentences and more complex words.
3. What is the Lexile Map?
The Lexile Map provides a graphic representation of texts and titles matched to appropriate levels of reading ability. While there is not one set level of expected comprehension, the Lexile Framework targets readers to text where the reader is expected to have 75-percent comprehension. At the same time, students, teachers, parents and others can moderate this level by adjusting the relationship between the reader and text.
4. What does SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory Have to do with Lexiles? SRI uses the developmental Lexile scale for texts ranging from 100L for beginning readers (BR) to above 1500L for advanced readers. Because SRI’s standard error of measure is ±50, any score below 100L is reported as “BR.” Any score above 1500L is reported as 1500+ due to the limited number of authentic texts available to provide items aligned to scores above 1500L
5. Why do I sometimes see my students’ scores decrease from one administration to the next?
Changes in test scores from one administration to the next may be the result of several factors, besides instructional interventions. There are external factors (separate from the test itself) that can and will impact the score. A student’s reading level may have actually changed, so any instruction or practice that took place between test administrations must be considered. In addition, the student’s state of body and mind at the time of testing can greatly affect the test score. The student may be tired, hungry, or distracted during an administration, which can impact performance.

There are also factors internal to the tests that can lead to differences in scores, even if the scores are being reported on the same scale. The item format, length of test, and level of difficulty can greatly impact the score. In addition, every test has a predictable amount of measurement error that affects a student's score and will vary from test to test. SRI has been designed to minimize the measurement error for any given student. For each test administration, SRI’s algorithm selects items based on the student’s response to the previous item. If the student answered the item correctly, then a harder item is selected; if the student answered the item incorrectly, then an easier item is selected. The test constantly adjusts between more and less difficult items, but makes more precise adjustments each time. The result is to zero in on the student’s true ability with the least measurement error possible. SRI's test engine takes this a step farther. With each subsequent administration, the test starts at the level where the student’s previous test left off. Over time, with repeated administrations of SRI, the measurement error associated with a score gets smaller and smaller, resulting in much greater accuracy in reading-level measurement.

6. How do I articulate “One Year's Growth” using Lexiles? For example, if a student starts the year with a Lexile of 550L, according to SRI, what Lexile would be needed to show one year’s worth of growth?
There are several ways of measuring “one year’s worth of growth.” If the student is in seventh grade, for example, one way to interpret one year’s growth is by finding the difference between the Lexile score at the 50th percentile in seventh grade and the Lexile score at the 50th percentile in eighth grade. It is important to note, however, that reading development is not linear; that younger students are expected to show more growth than older students. With that in mind, if the seventh grader above is actually reading at a second-grade level, one could also review the growth expectations from the 50th percentile in second grade to the 50th percentile in third grade, a larger difference than would be calculated in the first example.
7. Can state test results be used to adjust the starting point for students taking the SRI for the first time?
There are several ways to use state reading test results to adjust the starting point for students taking the SRI. Which method you use will depend on the way in which your state reports results from the reading and/or language arts portions of your state end-of-year assessment. In particular, your state may use a test for end-of-year NCLB reporting from which Lexile scores are available. If this score is available, you can enter it in SRI before testing the student. State test results are also often reported by percentile rank and their corresponding stanines. If you have this additional information, you should enter it as well. In the absence of Lexile scores from your state’s test, you should enter percentile and stanine data where available.
8. How do Lexiles relate to the MAP assessment?
The MAP Reading assessment report includes each student's Lexile score. This score may be used as a guide when choosing books at an appropriate reading level for each student. Check on NWEA's Lexile Tour Guide for more information.

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