In August, 2012, CoreStandards.org released a new document, “Supplemental Information for Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy: New Research on Text Complexity.” (Download here. http://www.corestandards.org/assets/E0813_Appendix_A_New_Research_on_Text_Complexity.pdf)
The new research on text complexity centers on two key features, quantitative and qualitative. For the quantitative test measure updates, six products were evaluated and aligned with the goals of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards. The following chart shows the new quantitative measures. The original standards gave preference to the Lexile scores and this update levels the field among reading score testing services; you can now use one of six: ATOS, DRP, Flesch-Kincaid, Lexile, Reading Maturity, or SourceRater. (See the Supplement for full details.) We have updated our Text Evaluation Tool with this new chart.
A second update is the simplified chart for use in evaluating a text’s qualitative measures. As in our chart here, the main categories are structure, language clarity and conventions, knowledge demands and levels of meaning/purpose. The new chart just lists these four categories. We saw no reason to change our chart, which provides prompts for each of the criteria under the four main categories. Our chart keeps the specifics within each category and allows you to chart a book for each measure.
Finally, the update acknowledges the teacher’s role in evaluating reader and task and makes no changes in this area.
Overall recommendations include:
1. It is recommended that quantitative measures be used to locate a text within a grade band because they measure dimensions of text complexity.
2. It is further recommended that qualitative measures be used to then locate a text in a specific grade level.
3. There will be exceptions to using quantitative measure to identify the grade band; sometimes, qualitative considerations will trump quantitative measures in identifying the grade band of a text, particularly with narrative fiction in later grades.
4. Certain measures are less valid or not applicable for certain kinds of texts.
For full details, see the Supplement to Appendix A.
Updated Text Evaluation Tool
We have updated our one-page, at-a-glance text tool with this new information. It is a free download when you sign up for our newsletter.