Here’s an interesting new study out from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) examining the preparedness of Texas students for college-level reading. Researchers used the Lexile measure to gauge both student reading level and the demands of entry level college reading in English. Unfortunately, they found that many 11th grade Texas students, particularly among a number of sub-groups, are unprepared for the rigorous requirements of college level work. Most striking in the report was the depth of the analysis and its meticulous drill down on the readiness of a wide variety of sub-groups. Though the report found a wide pattern of unpreparedness, a few findings stand out:
- Economically disadvantaged students were less prepared than those who were not economically disadvantaged.
- At risk students were less prepared than those who were not at risk.
- Students taking at least one career and technical education course were slightly less prepared than those not taking such a course.
Read the whole report for a more detailed analysis.
It’s worth noting that one of the benefits of the Lexile Framework – as the study authors acknowledge – is its easy accessibility as a tool for measuring growth toward college and career readiness. Because we know the typical reading level of college level text , we have an end point in mind by which to assess growth. And the Lexile Framework is an especially useful tool for establishing an aspirational trajectory and then responding with increased instruction and remediation for students on a trajectory to fall short of college preparedness. The Lexile Framework – when coupled with sound instructional practices is not only a tool to measure growth, but to match students to targeted, though challenging, text as well. Let’s hope teachers across the nation can put this tool to use for all students, particularly those on a trajectory to be unprepared for life after high school.