The Lexile Framework for Reading

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What are differences between Lexile measures and Fountas & Pinnell levels?

Last Updated: May 31, 2017 01:06PM EDT
There are several differences when comparing the two systems:
 
  • The Lexile Framework uses an objective process when assigning text measures, and the Fountas & Pinnell system uses subjective judgments when assigning Fountas & Pinnell levels to books. The Lexile Framework uses an algorithm to determine the complexity of a text. Fountas & Pinnell levels rely on individual human scoring, which can result in inconsistencies. For example, if the same book were evaluated twice using the Fountas & Pinnell system, there is no guarantee that the level will be the same.
     
  • The Lexile Framework uses an equal interval scale. Because the Lexile scale is a developmental, vertical, equal-interval scale, reading growth can be better calculated. The Fountas & Pinnell leveling system is not an equal-interval scale. That is to say, the amount of growth needed to go from A to B is not the same as M to N. However, a Lexile difference of 10L is the same regardless of its location on the scale (e.g., 50L vs 60L vs 70L).
     
  • The Lexile Framework is based on a conjoint measurement model in which reader performance and text complexity are placed on the same scale. This allows students and texts to be placed on the same scale and forms the basis of the Lexile Framework since Lexile text measures are ultimately based on student’s actual reading performances with different texts.
     
  • Lexile measures are an open standard. To obtain a Lexile measure for a student, there is no “Lexile” proprietary test. Instead, over 65 existing reading assessments and programs report Lexile measures. Many state departments of education also report Lexile measures from annual high-stakes assessments. Because Lexile measures are reported from popular instruments that measure student reading ability, Lexile measures can serve as a crosswalk between assessment programs and products.
     
  • The Lexile Framework now offers early-reading indicators that can identify which aspect of a text may present more or less of a challenge to a reader. There can be a lot of variability in terms of which text characteristics are contributing to the text complexity of a book in the K–2 space. By offering these early-reading indicators, teachers and reading specialists can gain insight into the different challenges presented by different texts even at the same Lexile level.
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