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Text Complexity and the Common Core

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Understanding the importance and implications of text complexity as it relates to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Help resources. …

Understanding the importance and implications of text complexity as it relates to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Help resources.

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  • 1. In general terms- define the three measures-
  • Appendix A defines the 3 components of text complexity. They are:Qualitative: which measures the levels of meaning, structure, language conventions and clarity as well as knowledge demands.Quantitative: which measures the readability of the text and is often scored by softwareReader and task considerations take into account the background knowledge of the reader as well as the reader’s motivation, interests and the task given. This third and final component is to be measured by educators using their professional judgment.
  • Describe the controversial nature of the novel, and then have participants make a guess at what grade level the Lexile score places this novel. Discuss how this is an inaccurate measure, and that one cannot rely solely on quantitative measures.


  • 1. Text Complexity And the Common Core StandardsCraig CorfmanLibrary Media SpecialistEuclid City SchoolsJanuary 9, 2012 CC image: cogdogblog
  • 2. Beginning the Conversation… Text Complexity 90 Minutes Presentation forTeachers, Admini strators, District ✚ = and School Leaders Illinois State BOE
  • 3. Today’s Goals1. Figuring out why we’re discussing text complexity2. Defining text complexity according to CCSS3. Understanding the importance and implications of text complexity as it relates to CCSS4. Knowing where to look for help
  • 4. Text Complexity: What’s the Big Deal? Recent studies have shown that the complexity of texts students are reading today does not match what is demanded in college and the workplace. (Appendix A) Standard #10 of the Common Core State Standards: English/Language Arts By the time they complete high school, students must be able to read and comprehend independently and proficiently the kinds of complex texts commonly found in college and careers.
  • 5. Text Complexity: What’s the Big Deal? (Part 2) The CCSS create a staircase of increasing text complexity, so that students are expected to both develop their skills and apply them to more and more complex texts.
  • 6. (CCR: College and Career Readiness Standards)
  • 7. Text complexity is defined by three measures in the CCSS: Quantitative measures – readability and other scores of text complexity often scored by software. (Lexile, ATOS, etc.) Qualitative measures – levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands often best measured by an attentive human Reader and Task considerations – Reader and Task reader background knowledge of reader, motivation, interests, and complexity generated by tasks assigned often best made by educators employing their Association Center forjudgment Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) (National Governors professional Best Practices,
  • 8. Quantitative Measure: DefinedAspects that are not easily measureable by a human andare typically measured by programs such as Lexile. Word frequency Sentence length Word length Text length Text cohesion
  • 9. Quantitative Measure: Limitations Sometimes quantitative measures for text complexity can be limiting or measure a text inappropriately. Why might this be the case? For example: John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath Try it: www.lexile.com 680L. Grades 2-3.And what aboutDiary of a Wimpy Kid, The Ugly Truth
  • 10. Qualitative Measures Example literary text qualitativeAspects of text complexity only “measureable” measures rubricby an attentive reader. Levels of Meaning or Purpose o Is it specifically stated/clear? Or are there inferences that need to be made by the reader? Structure of Text o Linear/nonlinear, one/multiple narrators, deviations from standard conventions of genre, number of plots Language Conventionality and Clarity o Literal, clear, or contemporary language vs. figurative, ambiguous, or unfamiliar language Knowledge Demands o Is understanding dependent on prior knowledge or open to any level?
  • 11. Reader and Task Considerations• Motivation• Knowledge and experience Reader and Task• Purpose for reading• Complexity of task assigned regarding text• Complexity of questions asked regarding text
  • 12. Reader and Task ConsiderationsThe use of qualitative andquantitative measures to assesstext complexity is balanced in the Reader and TaskStandards’ model by theexpectation that educators willemploy professional judgment tomatch texts to particular studentsand tasks. (Appendix A)Such assessments are best made by teachersemploying their professional judgment, experience, andknowledge of their students and the subject. (AppendixA)
  • 13. What’s the Next Step?We’ve reviewed the CCSSdefinition of text complexity. Whatdo we do with this information?Example text complexityanalysis form used by theKansas Board of Education.
  • 14. CCSS Sample Texts: K-5CCSS provide sample texts demonstrating appropriatecomplexity per grade level
  • 15. Sample Texts: Grades 6-CCR
  • 16. ResourcesACT. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness inreading.Hiebert, Elfrieda H. (2012). Common core’s staircase of text complexity. Retrieved fromhttp://textproject.org/professional-development/text-matters/Hiebert, Elfrieda H. (2012). 7 actions that teachers can take right now: Text complexity.Retrieved from http://textproject.org/professional-development/text-matters/Kansas State Department of Education. (2011). ELA and Literacy Resources for the KansasCommon Core Standards. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4778#TextResLexile framework for reading. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.lexile.com/National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State SchoolOfficers. (2010). Common core state standards. Retrieved fromhttp://www.corestandards.org/the-standards Appendix A: (For more detailed information on text complexity.) Appendix B: (For text exemplars and sample performance tasks illustrating the complexity, quality and range of reading appropriate for various grade levels with accompanying performance tasks.)