MetaMetrics® is focused on improving education for learners of all ages. For over twenty years, our work has been increasingly recognized for its distinct value in differentiating instruction and personalizing learning. Our research on postsecondary reading demands, for example, informed the Common Core State Standards for college- and career-readiness.
In addition to the white papers and policy briefs we publish throughout the year, our research briefs will encompass our work on a variety of educational issues, such as personalized learning platforms, text complexity, and college- and career-readiness. The research briefs discuss the studies and findings of our established team of psychometricians on the K-16 education spectrum.
The Common Core State Standards' Quantitative Text Complexity Trajectory: Figuring Out How Much Complexity is Enough (499KB, PDF)
by: Gary L. Williamson, Jill Fitzgerald and A. Jackson Stenner
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) set a controversial aspirational, quantitative trajectory for text complexity exposure for readers throughout the grades, aiming for all high school graduates to be able to independently read complex college and workplace texts. However, the trajectory standard is presented without reference to how the grade-by-grade complexity ranges were determined or rationalized, and little guidance is provided for educators to know how to apply the flexible quantitative text exposure standard in their local contexts. We extend and elaborate the CCSS presentation and discussion, proposing that decisions about shifting quantitative text complexity levels in schools requires more than implementation of a single, static standard. A rigorous two-part analytical strategy for decision making surrounding the quantitative trajectory standard is proposed, a strategy that can be used by state policy makers, district officials, and educators in general. First, borrowing methods from student growth modeling, we illustrate an analytical method for creation of multiple trajectories that can lead to the CCSS end-of-high-school target for text complexity exposure, resulting in trajectories that place greater burden for shifting text complexity levels on students in different grades. Second, we submit that knowledge of the multiple possibilities, in conjunction with a set of guiding principles for decision making, can support educators and policy makers in critiquing and using the CCSS quantitative standard for text complexity exposure to establish particular expectations for quantitative text complexity exposure for particular students in situ.
Growth in Reading Ability as a Response to Using EdShere™(381KB, PDF)
by: Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., Juee Tendulkar, Sean T. Hanlon, Carl W. Swartz, Ph.D., MetaMetrics®, November 20, 2012
Educators are aggressively working to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Student use of technology is one potential key to helping students meet higher reading standards proposed by the CCSS (National Education Technology Plan, 2010). Well-designed technology includes components of deliberate practice. Students benefit from these components of deliberate practice when their day-to-day and year-to-year performance is placed on an equal-interval developmental scale. EdSphere, formerly known as Learning Oasis (Hanlon, Swartz, Stenner, Burdick, & Burdick, 2012), is a web-based application that leverages the ability of The Lexile® Framework for Reading and The Lexile® Framework for Writing to provide students with activities targeted to their abilities and to topics being taught in the classroom. The objective of this research was to ascertain whether student growth in reading in response to exposure to Learning Oasis could be determined from an external progress-monitoring measure.
Bending the Text Complexity Curve to Close the Gap (190KB, PDF)
by: Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D., and Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., October 1, 2012
Prior research has identified a gap between the reading demands of high school and the postsecondary world. This suggests increasing exposure to complex texts during the K-12 years. What should an “aspirational” or “stretch” text complexity trajectory look like?
This research bulletin presents a “stretch” text complexity trajectory that aligns with postsecondary text demands.
From Novice to Expert: Applying Research Principles to Promote Literacy in the Classroom (205KB, PDF)
by: Carl W. Swartz, Ph.D., A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Sean T. Hanlon, Hal Burdick, Donald S. Burdick, Ph.D., Kurt W. Kuehne, October 1, 2012
Developing expertise in any field of endeavor requires immersing people in activities targeted to their abilities with opportunities to receive feedback and independent practice over long periods of time. Applying these principles in the classroom, so that each student has an opportunity to develop expertise in literacy, will require using technology that supports the teacher. EdSphere, formerly known as Learning Oasis, is one such technology that, through research, can help to validate the potential of technology to meet those goals.
The Lexile Framework for Reading Quantifies the Reading Ability Needed for "College & Career Readiness" (366KB, PDF)
by: A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D., and Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., MetaMetrics, October 1, 2012
How can we quantify college and career readiness? The Lexile Framework for Reading informs this question by measuring reading materials sampled from various postsecondary text collections, quantifying the associated text complexity, and then statistically summarizing the resulting distribution of readability measures. This approach allows us to provide a single text complexity target, situated in a band of “typical” text complexity requirements that are characteristic of postsecondary reading experiences.
The Text Complexity Continuum in Grade 1-12 (231KB, PDF)
by: Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., Heather Koons, Ph.D., Todd Sandvik, and Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D., MetaMetrics, October 1, 2012
How difficult are the texts commonly used in the public schools? How does text complexity exposure increase with grade level? This brief summarizes research that quantifies grade-level text complexity across grades 1-12. This effectively documents a systematic continuum of text complexity exposure for reading education.
EdSphere: Using Technology to Enhance Literacy Through Deliberate Practice (934KB, PDF)
by: Carl W. Swartz, Ph.D., Sean T. Hanlon, A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Hal Burdick, Donald S. Burdick, Ph.D., Colin Emerson, September 9, 2011
Emerging research from an array of fields suggests that experts are not born but rather develop expertise by engaging in deliberate practice over a long period of time. This deliberate practice must be targeted, intensive, distributed and self-directed, and provide real-time feedback using an objective developmental scale to measure progress. Providing more opportunities for deliberate literacy practice by increasing the time each student devotes to individualized, targeted reading and writing activities may overwhelm educators who teach in already-busy classrooms. Yet, with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and writing, educators will have to focus more attention on growing students’ literacy skills. Given this increased demand on teacher time, how can students spend the time necessary to develop as readers and writers? And what instructional strategies or technology-based solutions can educators use to guide all students onto reading growth trajectories that will result in college and career readiness?