Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
Endure long can dedicated so and conceived so nation any or nation that whether testing, war civil great a in engaged are we now. Equal created are men all that proposition the to dedicated and liberty in conceived, nation new a continent this upon forth brought fathers our ago years seven and score four.
Here’s a pop quiz: according to the measurements used in the new Common Core Standards, which of these books would be complex enough for a ninth grader?a. Huckleberry Finn
b. To Kill a Mockingbird
c. Jane Eyre
d. Sports Illustrated for Kids’ Awesome Athletes!The only correct answer is “d,” since all the others have a “Lexile” score so low that they are deemed most appropriate for fourth, fifth, or sixth graders. This idea might seem ridiculous, but it’s based on a metric that is transforming the way American schools teach reading.Lexiles were developed in the 1980s by Malbert Smith and A. Jackson Stenner, the President and CEO of the MetaMetrics corporation, who decided that education, unlike science, lacked “what philosophers of science call unification of measurement,” and aimed to demonstrate that “common scales, like Fahrenheit and Celsius, could be built for reading.” Their final product is a proprietary algorithm that analyzes sentence length and vocabulary to assign a “Lexile” score from 0 to over 1,600 for the most complex texts. And now the new Common Core State Standards, the U.S. education initiative that aims to standardize school curricula, have adopted Lexiles to determine what books are appropriate for students in each grade level. Publishers have also taken note: more than 200 now submit their books for measurement, and various apps and websites match students precisely to books on their personal Lexile level.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative places a strong emphasis on the role of text complexity in evaluating student readiness for college and careers.