Menu

Determine and adjust the readability level of testing materials

In this scenario, a teacher measures a test with the Lexile® Analyzer and finds that its reading demand is well above the reading ability of some of his struggling students. He rewrites some of his test and develops test-taking strategy instructions for his lowest-ability students.

Mr. Atkins teaches seventh grade language arts. For each section of an assigned novel, Mr. Atkins prepares a multiple-choice comprehension quiz. Some of the questions are a straight reading audit, checking factual knowledge about setting, character and plot. Other questions deal with the social and historical issues addressed by the author in the book.

Over the first two months of the school year, Mr. Atkins has noticed that his students are performing poorly on his quizzes despite their fruitful and lively discussions of the literature in his classroom reading groups. Recently, his class has been reading and discussing The Cay by Theodore Taylor, which measures 860L . Although a few of his students struggled to read the novel at the class' pace, everyone did read it, and has enthusiastically participated in both a mock debate on racism and a discussion of disabilities issues.

Students, however, have been missing the quiz questions about social and historical issues. Mr. Atkins wonders if his quiz is too difficult. So he saves his quiz as a text file, cuts out the reading audit questions, and logs in to the Lexile Analyzer. He submits the file and finds its Lexile measure to be 1100L . Most of his students' reading abilities are between 700L and 1100L . He realizes that it's likely that the reading demand of the quiz itself is interfering with his students' ability to show their knowledge of and thoughts about The Cay .

Mr. Atkins rewrites his conceptual quiz questions, using less complex sentences and easier synonyms for some of the keywords. The questions measure 980L after his changes, which aligns better with the Lexile distribution of his students. Mr. Atkins pastes the revised questions back into his quiz and makes copies for the next day's class.