A Lexile score is a number used to measure a student’s reading achievement. Several kinds of tests can be analyzed to determine this score. The Iowa test is one of them.
A Lexile score is not the same as a grade level score in reading. The lowest Lexile score—zero L—corresponds to the reading level of a beginning reader. The highest scores—1600+L—correspond to advanced readers.
These scores can be used to choose appropriate reading materials for a student. About a half a million books have been analyzed and given a Lexile score. A student with a score of 800L, for example, would find appropriate reading material in books with a similar score. At such a match, the student could be expected to comprehend 75% of the reading. Below is a sampling of Lexile scored books.
A Lexile score is a scientific measurement of reading based on two factors: how often words in the test or text are used in English and sentence length. It is a 21st century readability formula developed by MetaMetrics (www.lexile.com), an organization which “develops scientific measures of student achievement,” according to its website.
Many state departments of education and school districts have licensed Lexile to analyze their tests and to link students with appropriate reading materials. Several testing organizations such as the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests, the Iowa Test, the Sanford and Iowa achievement tests and the Total Reader, an online testing site, are “translating” their reading scores into Lexile scores. Some online reading sites offer Lexile scores for their reading material.
One shortcoming of the Lexile readability measurement is that, like many readability formulas before it, Lexile measures just a few factors, leaving out many others. Format and design factors (length of page, length of type line, length of paragraphs, type size and font, size of margins, white space between lines, use of graphics and use of color, for example) are not measured. Neither are the age-appropriateness of the material, the child’s interest in it, or the prior knowledge the child brings to reading.
Even so, Lexile is becoming a widely used method to measure a student’s reading ability and the readability of written materials.