Common Core Exemplar Texts — Text Complexity Criteria Summarized
Updated for 2012!
The English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Studies Appendix A discusses the criteria for selecting exemplar texts to use in teaching the Common Core Standards. Page 4 features a graphic of a triangle divided into three equal sections: “the Standards’ model of text complexity consists of three equally important parts.”
There follows a long discussion of the factors you must consider when choosing Exemplar Texts based on 1) Qualitative dimensions, 2) Quantitative dimensions and 3) Reader and Task.
Quantitative dimensions include scores of the reading level, based on one of six reading scores. Qualitative dimensions take into account the subject matter, the voice and tone of the writing, and the reader’s base of knowledge. Reader and task relate to the teacher’s purpose for using this text in the classroom, and to the reader’s interest, need for support or scaffolding, and similar factors.
The tendency is to give preference to the Lexile score, but that would be incorrect, according to the CCSS. Instead, each of the factors are equally weighted. It is true that overall, the CCSS urges that text complexity, as measured by the any of several reading level scores, should go up for each grade level; however, for any particular text, equal weight is given to all three factors. For example, Grapes of Wrath is at a 3rd-4th grade Lexile rating, but it’s themes, voice, social content, etc. move it firmly into the high school range for study in the ELA classroom.
Evaluating Texts for Common Core, 1-page tool, updated 2012
We have taken those requirements and put them into a one page, at-a-glance tool for evaluating a text. When you sign up for our newsletter, it’s a free download. Simply input your preferred email address. You’ll receive an email to confirm the subscription (double opt-in) and in the following confirmation letter, you’ll receive a link to the updated 2012 Text Tool.