"It isn't often that a society gets a chance to start afresh,
and I think that moment is here."
—Chester E. Finn, Jr.*
The Common Core State Standards Initiative offers the following overlapping Lexile bands (or Lexile ranges**, as defined by Common Core) to place texts in the following text complexity grade bands. According to the Common Core Standards, qualitative scales of text complexity should be anchored at one end by descriptions of texts representative of those required in typical first-year credit-bearing college courses and in workforce training programs. Similarly, quantitative measures should identify the college- and career-ready reading level as one endpoint of the scale.
We have realigned our Lexile ranges to match the Common Core Standards' text complexity grade bands and adjusted upward its trajectory of reading comprehension development through the grades to indicate that all students should be reading at the college and career readiness level by no later than the end of high school.
New research was released on August 15, 2012 concerning text complexity. The updates refer to the three-part model defined in Appendix A of the the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, which combines the quantitative and qualitative measures of text complexity with reader and task considerations. The goal of the quantitative study was to provide information regarding the variety of ways text complexity can be measured quantitatively and to examine text complexity tools that are valid, transparent, user friendly, and reliable. We continue to update our tools to be aligned to the CCSS. Most recently, we updated the Lexile Map to include CCSS text exemplars and the new CCSS ranges.
*COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH, LANGUAGE ARTS, APPENDIX A (ADDITIONAL INFORMATION), NGA AND CCSSO, 2012
The Common Core Standards advocate a "staircase" of increasing text complexity, beginning in grade 2, so that students can develop their reading skills and apply them to more difficult texts. At the lowest grade in each band, students focus on reading texts within that text complexity band. In the subsequent grade or grades within a band, students must "stretch" to read a certain proportion of texts from the next higher text complexity band. This pattern repeats itself throughout the grades so that students can both build on earlier literacy gains and challenge themselves with texts at a higher complexity level. Lexile measures and the Lexile ranges above help to determine what text is appropriate for each grade band and what should be considered "stretch" text.
The Common Core Standards devote as much attention to the text complexity of what students are reading as it does to how students read. As students advance through the grades, they must both develop their comprehension skills and apply them to increasingly complex texts. The proportion of texts that students read each year should come from a particular text complexity grade band. Students must also show a steadily increasing ability to discern more from and make fuller use of text.
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**Please note that MetaMetrics defines a "Lexile range" as text that falls within 100L below to 50L above a reader's Lexile measure.
*Chester E. Finn, Jr. is a former Assistant Secretary of Education in the George Bush administration, current President of the Fordham Foundation and a well-known critic of educational reform efforts.