The Common Core State Standards Initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity for states to collaborate to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness and comparability of their assessment systems. States who adopt the Common Core Standards are being encouraged to employ only one or two summative assessments that could be administered across all states.

The U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program will make up to $350 million available for state consortia to develop the "next generation" of assessments. A key component of these next-generation assessments is to produce the data necessary to: 1) support decision making at all levels, including indicators as to whether students are ready or "on track" to be ready for college and careers; 2) measure student growth over time in addition to annual performance against standards; and 3) determine how students perform compared with their international peers.

The Lexile® Framework for Reading provides a common, developmental scale and measure to match readers with resources and activities that are targeted to their ability level and to gauge their progress toward goals. To follow are some examples of how Lexile measures can be integrated into the following sections of the Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program application:

 

(A)(3) Assessment System Design
(B)(3) Course Assessment Program Design and Development

Monitor student growth in relation to college and career readiness
The Common Core Standards focus on students' attainment of college and career readiness; students graduating from high school must be ready to enter into postsecondary environments with the reading skills needed to function successfully. A key feature of the Common Core Assessments will be measuring student reading ability to ensure that they are on a trajectory to graduate with these requisite skills.

Research conducted using the Lexile scale has measured the reading demands of materials students will encounter in their postsecondary and career pursuits. The Lexile scale expands traditional K-12 educational systems to P-20 systems, and helps educators and policymakers measure if students are graduating college and career ready.

For example: within the Common Core Standards, text complexity grade bands recommended for instruction are expressed in Lexile measures. Teachers in the upper grades of each band will be required to include 30 percent of "stretch text" (text from the next band) in their instruction. The 11‐CCR band recommends a Lexile range of 1215L‐1355L. In order to exit high school reading at this level, students should be exposed to more complex text throughout the K‐12 years, as indicated in the "stretch text" chart below.

Current vs.

The bottom curve is the latent text complexity curve that describes how text changes throughout the K-12 continuum. The top curve is the "stretch" text complexity curve that describes how the text complexity curve could be modified to realize a smoother transition from K-12 to college and career. Note that the end point of the top curve is at 1300L to align with college and career text demands.

Target instruction for all learners and connect students with appropriate learning materials
The Lexile Framework empowers educators to make actionable decisions regarding reading instruction when the student's readiness to learn and the instructional resources are matched. Through resource measurement, Lexile measures are assigned to textbooks and other materials using the Lexile® Analyzer. Over 115,000 books, 80 million articles, and 60,000 websites have Lexile measures.

Enhance (and possibly change) classroom instructional practices
The Common Core Assessments will measure the comprehension of complex informational text as cited in the NAEP framework: 50% informational passages in grade 4, 55% in grade 8, and 70% in grade 12. This shift from an emphasis on literature to informational text will require changing practices in the classroom. Lexile measures enable teachers to select informational text that is appropriate for each grade band to prepare students for the new assessments, as well as identify the appropriate stretch text.

Extend learning beyond the classroom
States that report Lexile measures today do so to make assessments more "actionable." Lexile measures are embedded in instructional tools, such as "Find a Book," that can be used by teachers, librarians and parents. "Find a Book" is a free, online search tool that connects readers with books at public libraries that match their interests and reading ability. "Find a Book" currently facilitates more than one million book searches per month.

(A)(5) Research and Evaluation
(B)(4) Research and Evaluation

Monitor student growth in relation to college and career readiness
The Common Core Standards focus on students' attainment of college and career readiness; students graduating from high school must be ready to enter into postsecondary environments with the reading skills needed to function successfully. A key feature of the Common Core Assessments will be measuring student reading ability to ensure that they are on a trajectory to graduate with these requisite skills.

When grade‐level performance standards are established and validated using external frames of reference (e.g., briefing book or modified briefing book method), then the assessment results can be interpreted within the broader context of student achievement. One such piece of information that could be used in a briefing book is a Lexile measure. Lexile measures provide educators with a way to communicate about assessment results using "real world" examples to describe performance.

Benchmark student results in terms of national and international standard
By linking assessments with a common supplemental scale, classroom formative/interim assessments can be connected to summative assessments. Consequently, the results from both types of assessment can become actionable in the classroom—the results of formative/interim assessments can be used to forecast how likely the student is to meet the performance standards of the summative assessment. Educators can connect day‐to‐day instructional needs with year‐to‐year state‐ and national‐level accountability system requirements. Lexile measures are now reported on dozens of classroom formative assessments. Lexile measures enable educators to effectively differentiate classroom instruction based on student ability; discuss learning goals and paths to progress with students and parents; and forecast whether each student is likely to achieve the Common Core Standards using a P-20 developmental perspective.

International benchmarks have been a feature of the Common Core Standard design. Lexile measures have been linked to the reading scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which assesses the ability of a student to use and understand English in an academic setting. TOEFL is used as an admission requirement for non‐native English speakers at many English‐speaking colleges and universities. More than 5 million students have taken ETS's TOEFL iBT® test.  and the Lexile connection will allow US students' reading performance to be compared with students around the world.

Provide continuity within and comparability across assessment programs
The Lexile Framework for Reading is currently used by 21 states as part of their NCLB testing programs. When completed, MetaMetrics can link the Common Core Assessments to the Lexile scale. Since these 21 state assessments and the Common Core Assessments will then have a common scale—the Lexile scale—states reporting Lexile measures today will be able to monitor and track growth continuously when the new assessments come online. Additionally, linking the assessments developed by the consortia will provide a way to determine the comparability between the new assessments.

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