Research Page


The Lexile Framework provides a scientific, standardised approach to measuring text difficulty and reading ability globally: the Lexile Framework offers a conjoint measurement framework that puts both texts and readers on the same developmental scale to accurately match students with reading materials. The Lexile Framework for Reading is backed by more than 30 years of research by the renowned psychometric team at MetaMetrics®, an educational measurement and research organisation. Today, MetaMetrics continues to pioneer scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve teaching and learning.

Lexile measures are universally applicable across English and non-English speaking populations and widely adopted in educational institutions around the globe.

Lexile Grants for Research in EFL Reading and Reading Assessment

MetaMetrics and the British Council Assessment Research Group engaged in a joint research endeavour to examine how EFL students comprehend English reading materials. Through this research initiative, several grants are offered to qualifying institutions and/or individuals.

The aim of the grants is to build insights into the interaction between features of text and reading tasks that impact comprehension and can inform teaching, learning and assessment and evaluation. In addition, the grants are intended to provide a body of validity evidence which can contribute to the validation of The Lexile Framework for Reading and EFL reading assessment instruments, such as the Aptis test system developed by the British Council. The projects sponsored by the grants will contribute to improving the application, use and interpretation of these instruments in learning, teaching and evaluation.

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2017 Grants:
Researchers: Benjamin Kremmel, Carol Spöttl, Franz Holzknecht & Matthias Zehentner
Institution: Language Testing Research Group, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Researchers: Ian Tuersley & Saeede Haghi
Institution: The University of Warwick, UK

Below are summaries of Lexile research on reading materials used in the United Kingdom and non-English speaking countries.

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Lexile Measurement of Tests: EIKEN & Test of English for Academic Purposes

MetaMetrics

The purpose of this document is to report certified Lexile measures for the following reading tests administered in the years 2013 and 2014: EIKEN (reading sections only) and Test of English for Academic Purposes (TEAP) (reading sections only). The Eiken Foundation measured the complexity of these test forms using MetaMetrics’ online Lexile® Analyzer and then sent the files to MetaMetrics for review. Due to differences in editing rules applied by MetaMetrics for certified text measures, the resulting text measures were not identical to those produced by the Eiken Foundation. However, the overall pattern of complexity across the test forms was maintained.

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Comparing the Reading Demand of the English CSAT and English Textbooks in the Republic of Korea

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

The study examined the text complexity of passages from the Republic of Korea’s English College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) administered in 2015. The results were then compared to the findings of a previous study of primary and secondary English textbook complexity. The primary research question investigated was whether text complexity varied from secondary school, especially Grade 12, to the English College Scholastic Ability Test.

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An examination of the relationship between Text Complexity and Publisher Assigned Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Graded Readers

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

The objective of this research is to describe the text complexity of four EFL graded reader series, and explore whether texts with the same CEFR designation have similar characteristics. 

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An Examination of the UK's Key Stage Tests' Reading Section Complexity

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

The study examined the text complexity of the English reading sections from Key Stage 1 and 2 tests from 2003 to 2016. The 2016 official sample sections from the Department for Education were also included. Three primary research questions were investigated: 1) How has the reading section text complexity changed over the years for Key Stage 1 and 2? 2) How closely aligned were the sample sections and administered sections for 2016? 3) Are the text complexity measures from the Key Stage 1 and 2 reading sections comparable to the mean text complexity measures from textbooks written for Years 2 and 6?

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An Examination of the Text Complexity of EFL Graded Readers

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

This study examined the text complexity of five graded-reader series for English as a foreign language learners to ascertain their comparability across publishers.

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Primary and Secondary English Textbook Complexity in the Republic of Korea

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

The study examined the text complexity of reading passages in a set of English textbooks approved and accredited for use by The Ministry of Education in maintained primary and secondary schools for grades 5 through 12. The primary research questions investigated the extent to which the text complexity varied within grade and increased across grades.

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College Scholastic Ability Test for English, Republic of Korea: Examining text complexity with the Lexile Framework for Reading

MetaMetrics

Historic text complexity data for the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation's College Scholastic Ability Test for English

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The Relationship of Korean Students' Age and Years of English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL)

A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Heather Koons, Ph.D., Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D., Jill Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Kimberly Bowen, Kee Hyung Kim

The purpose of the present cross-age study with South Korean students was to investigate the relationship of age and years of English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) exposure with English reading ability. South Korean third-grade through university students who were studying EFL reported English exposure and completed a standardized English reading test which resulted in a reading ability score locating each individual’s EFL-reading ability on a continuous, developmental scale. A regression analysis revealed that age and English exposure interacted in relation to students’ reading ability. Description of the cross-age English reading levels was among the first to portray EFL-reading ability at multiple ages.

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The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and The Lexile Framework for Reading

Malbert Smith, Ph.D., Jason Turner

Through the years educators, publishers, researchers and policy makers have relied on two frameworks to help guide literacy and English language instruction from the initial stages of reading (emergent or beginning reading) to the goal of university and career readiness: the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and The Lexile® Framework for Reading. To explore how Lexile measures could enhance the CEFR in the promotion and development of English reading skills, a series of studies were conducted. Major findings include:

•The text complexity of graded readers produced by a publisher rise with the progression of CEFR levels.

•The text complexity of graded readers with identical CEFR levels drastically differ across publishers’ series.

•Based on student data from international assessments, learner reading ability aligns with the reading demands of university and career readiness.

•While the CEFR levels applied to instructional resources ( e.g., graded readers) tend to guide the learner through progressively more challenging texts, the texts are not rigorous enough.

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Text Complexity of English International Newspapers in a World Preparing for College and Career

Carl W. Swartz, Ph.D., Sean T. Hanlon, A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., Hal Burdick, Donald S. Burdick, Ph.D.

English is the unofficial technical and business language of the world. Estimates suggest that more than 1 billion people worldwide use English to varying degrees of understanding and expression. A common second language like English enables the internet to function as a digital passport allowing those whose first language might be Russian, Arabic, Cantonese, French, Spanish, or Hindi to cross international borders and share understanding of local, national, and international events and cultures. The purpose of this study was to investigate the text complexity of online English language newspapers sampled from around the world. The results of this study suggest that the text complexity of online English newspapers is commensurate with the complexity of text encountered by readers in two and four year universities, colleges, and the workplace and is slightly higher than the text demands of domestic newspapers. Text at this high level may prove to be a barrier to understanding across borders and cultures. But, the level of text complexity sets an implicit aspirational goal for those who desire to be educated in or work in the United States. Our goal is not to advocate for lowering the text complexity of online English newspapers, but to enhance the reading ability of all English language learners who desire to access the information and knowledge contained in college and career texts.

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Primary and Secondary Textbook Complexity in England

Heather Koons, Ph.D., Laura Bush, Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D.

The study examined the text complexity of textbooks available for use in English maintained primary and secondary schools that
address select mandatory courses: English, mathematics, science, history, geography, and citizenship, for years one through 11, key
stages 1 through 4. 
The research hypothesis was that text complexity varies within school year and key stage and that the median text complexity increases with school year/key stage. The results supported the hypothesis.
However the findings highlight the fact that the greatest increase in complexity across the years and key stages occurs early on when
young readers are still developing their reading skills: between years one and two and between key stage 1 and 2. After this time, the increase in complexity is less marked.

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Complexity of University Texts in the United Kingdom

Gary L. Williamson, Ph.D., Todd Sandvik, Jackson Stenner V, Allen Johnson

This research quantifies the complexity of textbooks commonly used in universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and compares the text complexity of UK university texts with texts used in the United States (US) by postsecondary educational institutions (universities, community colleges, and technical colleges). Seventy texts from 10 UK universities were measured using the Lexile Analyzer. The results show that university texts used in the UK and those used in the US have similar distributions of text complexity.

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