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.  

Enriching the Concept of Career Preparedness by Examining Text Complexity Associated with Bright Outlook Occupations (455KB, PDF)

by: Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist; Robert F. Baker, Ph.D., Director of Analytical Services, December 27, 2013

Text complexity associated with college and career preparedness has become an issue of national interest (NGA & CCSSO, 2010). Previous work (e.g., Daggett, 2003; Stenner, Sanford-Moore & Williamson, 2012; Williamson, 2008) has examined workplace texts globally or within the United States Department of Education (USED) career clusters but has not reported on texts associated with specific individual occupations. This study provides a description of the text complexity of reading materials that are considered important for accessing specific individual occupations.

Growth in Reading Ability as a Response to Using EdSphere™ (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?

Text Complexity of English International Newspapers in a World Preparing for College and Career (234KB, PDF)

by: Carl W. Swartz, Ph.D., Sean T. Hanlon, Ph.D.,  A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Hal Burdick and Donald S. Burdick, Ph.D., 
Learning Science and Technology, MetaMetrics

English is the unofficial technical and business language of the world. Estimates suggest that more than 1 billion people worldwide
use English to varying degrees of understanding and expression. A common second language like English enables the
internet to function as a digital passport allowing those whose first language might be Russian, Arabic, Cantonese, French,
Spanish, or Hindi to cross international borders and share understanding of local, national, and international events and
cultures. The purpose of this study was to investigate the text complexity of online English language newspapers sampled from
around the world. The results of this study suggest that the text complexity of online English newspapers is commensurate with
the complexity of text encountered by readers in two and four year universities, colleges and the workplace and is slightly
higher than the text demands of domestic newspapers. Text at this high level may prove to be a barrier to understanding
across borders and cultures. But, the level of text complexity sets an implicit aspirational goal for those who desire to be
educated in or work in the United States. Our goal is not to advocate for lowering the text complexity of online English
newspapers, but to enhance the reading ability of all English language learners who desire to access the information and
knowledge contained in college and career texts.