Lexile scores leave students conflicted

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The Lexile test that students had taken recently left many confused and puzzled over its purpose, and left others ashamed or a sense of not being good enough.

Formerly known as the Lexile Framework for Reading, the Lexile test was developed by the founders of MetaMetrics Inc., A. Jackson Stenner, Ph.D., and Malbert Smith, Ph.D. There are two types of Lexile Measures: a Lexile reader measure (score of one’s reading ability) and a Lexile text measure (score of text difficulty). Both measures are meant to help teachers create lesson plans or a way for them to track students’ reading ability and help them grow.

“The Lexile test is an inventory that the publisher HMH provides for us,” Karen Johnston, English department chair, said. “And students find out their reading Lexile by reading passages and answering questions on vocabulary and reading comprehension.”

It was the Alhambra Unified School District, not the state, who made the decision to issue the test to gather data on the students’ reading level. Currently, it is unclear what the scores will be used for in the future.

“I think that once we figure out how we’re gonna use it to support students and help students then I think that it can be helpful,” Johnston said.  

However, there have been some concerns about how valuable or useful the measure is.

“There may be somewhere [where] it can be helpful, but I feel that it puts labels on students and we already have too many labels,” English teacher Sabrina Morales said. “And I believe people should be free to choose their books regardless of their labels.”

The Lexile reader measure impacted some students negatively, which is where the controversy over whether or not the Lexile Measures are useful or not stems from.

“I’m not satisfied. I should [have] done better,” junior Kevin Nguyen said. “ [The test is] not a great way to compare people [and] students because reading is not the only thing that people love to do.”

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