What information does their Lexile level give us? What is it good for? Why do the measures differ from one test to another?
When students take the PARCC test or other standardized tests, they are presented with grade level material. The accompanying Lexile score tells us how well they can read at their grade level. If a third grade student receives an 1100 Lexile, this does not necessarily mean they can read at the high school level. It means they read the 3rd grade passage as well as a high school students would have been expected to read the passage. Because students are not presented with reading material above their grade level, the PARCC Lexile makes no judgment on their ability to read above grade level material. Sometimes parents are confused by this information. Certainly teachers are! So what valuable information can a Lexile level give us, so that we may inform both instruction and our families?
Certainly a Lexile level will tell us when students read below grade level. NWEA MAP testing does sometimes present students with "out of grade level" material. So NWEA MAP Lexiles are probably our most reliable measure. So what if a student’s Lexile went down but the NPR went up? The NPR is in comparison to all students who took the test at that grade, so if the average score goes down, the NPR goes up, but the Lexile goes down. We can also use Lexiles to determine who needs further testing or diagnosing. What other information may you need about your child's reading level?
When students have the opportunity to choose a book from their classroom, school, or public library, they should be able to make good choices so that the books fit their needs. Taking their interests, motivation, and ability into account helps students make decisions.
Anchoring students in finding books using skills they can keep for a life-time permits them to be proactive about their own book selections. It’s like when you choose a sweater for the Christmas party. First, you know what you like in colors and styles. Then, you think about the fabric and how you will be using it. There are usually several sweaters to choose from, so you think about size last.
When students are choosing books, they should think about their interests and what type of topics (colors) or genres (styles) they like best. Then they need to think about their motivation. Are they choosing a book to read for fun or for an assignment in school? Is it for self-selected reading time during the day? A child’s motivation for reading is nearly as important as the type of book.
Finally, they should think about their ability and read one page, and hold up their hand. For every confusing word or unknown word, they should put down a finger. If its boring, they should put down a finger. If they don't understand a sentence or paragraph, they should put down a finger. If all their fingers are still up, it is too easy. If they are all down, the book is too hard.
Many of your children might be using Freckle this summer as assigned by their teacher. looking for more reading practice this summer? Here are some suggestions parent can set up for their children that teachers also use:
• https://newsela.com– This website provides high-quality news articles, historical documents, and other texts for students in grades 2-12, covering science, law, health, arts, sports, opinion, and economics. Users can toggle between five levels of reading difficulty (on the Lexile scale). Parents can get free access, with content suitable for elementary and secondary students. The Newsela website also has text sets of news articles, biographies, speeches, and historical documents organized around central themes or topics.
• https://www.readworks.org– This free site has more than 2,600 K-12 informational and literary passages, paired texts, text sets, lessons, comprehension units, and novel study units, all accompanied by question sets. All passages are searchable by keyword, grade, Lexile level, topic, text type, and skill or strategy. You can find your child's lexile level on their NWEA MAP report. Topics include civics and government, technology and engineering, and world history.
At the most recent school board meeting, teachers in grades 4-8 presented on STEMScopes, a science tool they have asked the board to adopt. Alon with our work adopting the Next Generation Science Standards, we are continuing our move to inquiry based science exploration where students learn to do science like a sciencetist, write about their work, and investigate new work. Students will do less rote vocabulary memorization, be assessed by their understanding and ability to explain rather than memorize facts, and learn to love and explore science!
We are excited to continue preparing students to be future leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by providing them with opportunities to participate in inquiry-based learning activities so they think, work, and collaborate like scientists. To help our students develop critical thinking skills, collect and analyze data, and engage in meaningful learning, we will use StemScopes as part of our science instruction and curriculum. One of the many great features of STEMscopes is that there is no longer a traditional textbook to lug back and forth!
Along with this program, the district is purchasing a large amount of science and engineering equipment for students to use. Students will spend much more time learning through inquiry. And hopefully gain a higher level of science skill!
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.