Mevident’s Teen Wellness Program Adds Lexile Measures

Lexile measures are now part of a teen wellness program!  Mevident, a South San Francisco, California company, now provides Lexile measures as part of Teen Wellness– a solution that allows school counselors to provide resiliency skill education to students who are distracted from academic activities by family problems, peer or relationship problems, behavioral issues and psychological barriers.  The program is built around Mevident’s proprietary online educational materials, comprising 13 chapters of lessons, homework exercises and fictional character stories. The collective chapters, and each of the character stories, have been assigned Lexile measures to help school counselors gauge students’ readiness to read and understand the course materials.

Teen Wellness demonstrates commitment to helping students prepare for the challenges in both their personal and academic lives and we’re happy to be a part! According to Mevident’s CEO, Asako Tsumagari, the addition of Lexile measures now provides counselors with a proven resource to help determine if students will be able to effectively engage in the materials.

We’re thrilled that educators will be able to match Teen Wellness chapters and lessons to student reading levels!

Consider the Student: Targeting with The Lexile Framework for Reading

A tip of the hat to last week’s Marshall Memo for pointing to Susan Voorhees latest piece in this month’s The Reading Teacher, ‘Why the Dog Eats Nikki’s Homework: Making Informed Assignment Decisions’ (subscription required).  Voorhees argues that too often students failing to complete homework assignments are seen as incompetent, or lazy, or as academically deficient.  When, in fact, many students may be assigned conceptually dense work, or reading material at far too high a level.

Voorhees goes on to offer a detailed and compelling case for scaffolding, for differentiating based on the reader’s ability.  Voorhees even recommends a checklist approach for determining how much assistance young readers may need with an assignment:

  • Can all students decode the homework material?
  • Do all students have prior knowledge, schema, and vocabulary needed to understand the assigned material?
  • Do all students know how to use text structure?
  • Do all students understand the purpose of the homework assignment?
  • Do all students know how to activate prior knowledge prior to reading?
  • Do all students have sufficient attention and ability to concentrate?
  • Do all students have high self-efficacy toward homework and literacy?
  • Do all students get parental help with homework?

For each of the checklist items, Voorhees offers concrete suggestions on ways to ensure that each student meets the criteria listed above.  One such suggestion, for example, focuses on stamina – a reader’s ability to engage with the text for longer periods of time.  Because a reader’s stamina will influence their success on longer reading assignments, Voorhees recommends taking stamina into account and breaking up longer reading assignments into more digestible chunks.

Voorhees also recognizes that reader level varies across classrooms and that more complex texts will present a greater challenge for struggling readers.  Which is why she recommends that, when practical, teachers focus on providing easier texts for struggling readers.

The idea that an important piece of differentiation is targeting a reader with appropriately matched texts is a well-established idea and in line with many practices that complement the use of the Lexile Framework.  The Lexile scale is an important metric for measuring both reader and text on the same scale.  One of the advantages of a common scale is that by placing reader and text on the same scale, an educator has a clear idea of just how much challenge a text may present.  The Lexile Framework for Reading allows educators to match struggling readers at a targeted level.  Because so many supplemental resources have been aligned to the Lexile metric – including tens of millions of articles on just about any topic – educators have a wide variety of resources through which to target struggling readers.  This sort of targeting jibes well with Voorhes’ suggestion to ‘provide easier text’ in cases where students will struggle with high level material.

Voorhees’ suggestions are worth considering. We’ve seen many of these practices implemented in classrooms around the country and many are a natural complement to using the Lexile Framework to match readers to the right level of text.

Policy Brief: Bridging the Readiness Gap

Recently, we released our first of many policy briefs written by our very own Dr. Malbert Smith III, MetaMetrics’ President and Co-Founder.

MetaMetrics is focused on improving education for learners of all ages. For over twenty years, our work has been increasingly recognized for its distinct value in differentiating instruction and personalizing learning.  For example, our research on post secondary reading demands, on what it means to be college and career ready, informed the Common Core State Standards.

In addition to the white papers and position papers we publish throughout the year, our policy briefs will encompass research on a variety of educational issues, such as closing the achievement gap, next-generation assessments, and college- and career-readiness. The policy briefs will explore potential ways to address these critical issues by focusing on education as the foundation of student success and the stepping stone to social and economic growth in our country.

The first brief is titled “Bridging the Readiness Gap: Demystifying Required Reading Levels for Post-secondary Pursuits.” An executive summary is below and the entire brief is available in both HTML and PDF formats:

What does it mean to be “college- and career-ready?” According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Holy Grail of education is to ensure that all high school graduates are adequately prepared for their academic and professional pursuits. This goal underscores the current national educational reform agenda-both Race to the Top requirements and Common Core criteria advocate standards that build toward and ensure college and career readiness. While many factors comprise readiness, one of the most important is the ability to read and comprehend complex texts. And although our research shows a significant gap between the text demands of high school and the post-secondary world, progress has already been made in reconsidering the entire scope of the P-20 educational landscape. Using our research, Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards demonstrates how the text continuum can be redrawn by Lexile grade bands so that educators and administrators have a reliable road map to make sure students are building the reading skills necessary to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that await them. By forecasting deficiencies in reading ability, we can demystify the “readiness gap,” raise the bar for reading achievement, and better prepare students for success in their post-secondary endeavors.

Want to subscribe to our policy briefs? Visit www.Lexile.com and click on Register in the top right corner. Be sure to check the box next to News Releases!

Kentucky Celebrates Literacy

We were pleased to see that Kentucky is hosting the Kentucky Literacy Celebration this week as a way to promote reading across the state:

First Lady Jane Beshear announced Monday that the Commonwealth will have its first annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration from February 28 through March 4. In coordination with the weeklong event, Mrs. Beshear issued a special reading list as part of her ongoing “First Lady’s Reading Recommendations” initiative.
As many of you probably know, Kentucky has linked their state assessment to the Lexile Framework for Reading.  Meaning, students taking the KCCT now receive Lexile measures on their student report.  This important metric allows teachers throughout the state of Kentucky to target students at the right reading level and helps make differentiation for struggling readers a reality.
As part of the Kentucky Literacy Celebration, First Lady Beshear has offered her own reading list, compiled for all ages and across multiple interests.  As the article states, many of the books on the list can be found within our own Find a Book site. 
Congratulations to Kentucky on this important initiative.

Crisis of Confidence: U.S. Teens Worry Over Nation’s Math Ability

A recent Education Week article (subscription required) suggests that our teens may be overconfident in their math and science abilities. Out of 1,000 students surveyed, many reported feeling confident in their math preparedness and 68 percent agreed that math and science skills will be a requirement of most jobs, with 58 percent reporting a desire to work in a related field. However, when asked which country was best at math and science, 67 percent selected Japan or China and only 44% viewed mathematics as important to “solving society’s big problems.”

Intel, the corporation that conducted the study, believes that this study indicates the bar needs to be raised for American students. Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group, said: “We need innovative programs that celebrate not just “making the grade,” but taking the challenging courses that will prepare our students for the careers of the future.”

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an attempt to align state curriculum standards with the demands of college and career.  That’s been our focus at MetaMetrics as well, and we’ve put together a variety of resources to demonstrate how both the Lexile® and Quantile® measures support the Common Core State Standards’ goal of preparing all students for college and careers.   Going a step further, we’ve also developed utilities that match readers to books of their choice based on their current reading level.  And our mathematics utilities assist educators and parents by allowing students to access differentiated math resources.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look.

Reading Across Boundaries: The Lexile Framework for Reading for All Students

In an increasingly globalized world national borders mean less than before.  Boundaries have grown more porous and the offerings of each nation’s popular culture have found eager consumers in other countries.  Consumers have shown their taste to be  cosmopolitan and have proven hungry for all flavors international.  Americans, on the other hand have remained largely indifferent to trends outside their own borders, preferring instead to stick to their own homegrown literature, music, and movies.  As this New York Times article makes clear, Americans have traditionally resisted the pop culture of other nations.  But that may be changing:

Among foreign cultural institutes and publishers, the traditional American aversion to literature in translation is known as “the 3 percent problem.”  But now, hoping to increase their minuscule share of the American book market – about 3 percent – foreign governments and foundations, especially those on the margins of Europe, are taking matters into their own hands and plunging into the publishing fray in the United States.

While a few international writers have experienced commercial success, it has mostly been an uphill battle for recognition for writers outside the U.S.  The Internet, however, may finally be introducing a whole nation of readers to a host of newly-discovered writers.  There are currently several sites that specialize in literature translation.  Amazon offers AmazonCrossing which attempts to “introduce readers to emerging and established authors from around the world with translations of foreign language books, making award-winning and bestselling books accessible to many readers for the first time.”

One of the benefits to this effort is that foreign titles will now be available in English.  In addition to offering American readers exposure to an entire catalog of previously unknown gifted writers, foreign students may now have access to some of their favorite titles in English.  We’ve written before on the ascent of the English language.  English is now the predominant language of business and science, and students abroad assiduously study the English language as a way to prepare for their entrance exams.  One of the primary ways to do that, of course, is through the targeted and sustained reading of English. 

MetaMetrics has recently partnered with ETS, creator of the TOEFL Junior test, to provide just such a service for international students (starting with those in Korea) who wish to not only practice their reading, but to practice it at a targeted reading level.  According to MetaMetrics President Dr. Malbert Smith, “With Lexile measures and our new book search on the TOEFL Junior site, we are simplifying the process of matching students with books that can help them strengthen their English reading skills and achieve their goals.”  It’s our hope that the Lexile Framework for Reading will not only help American students improve their reading level, but also allow ELL students to improve their English ability through the use of Lexile-linked books and articles.

If you haven’t yet seen the new website and service, be sure to check it out.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.