Why text complexity matters
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Why Text Complexity Matters. Dr. Cristi Alberino, Ph. D. Amy Radikas Joanne White. SUPPORTING DISTRICTS WITH DETERMINING TEXT COMPLEXITY. Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

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Why text complexity matters

Why Text Complexity Matters

Dr. Cristi Alberino, Ph. D.

Amy Radikas

Joanne White


Why text complexity matters

SUPPORTING DISTRICTS WITH

DETERMINING TEXT COMPLEXITY

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects


Objectives

Understand the three part model of text complexity and the final step of placing texts in grade bands.

Discuss how this understanding can be shared in a district/school to facilitate the placement and shifts of texts.

OBJECTIVES


The crisis of text complexity

  • Complexity of texts students are expected to read is farbelow what is required to achieve college and career readiness:

    • High school textbooks have declined in all subject areas over several decades

    • Average length of sentences in K-8 textbooks has declined from 20 to 14 words

The “CRISIS” OF Text Complexity

CCSSO Text Complexity


Is this really a crisis

  • Vocabulary demands have declined, e.g., 8th grade textbooks = former 5th grade texts; 12th grade anthologies = former 7th grade texts

  • Too many students are reading at too low a level (<50% of graduates can read sufficiently complex texts)

Is This really A Crisis?

CCSSO Text Complexity


Is this really a crisis1

  • The chief difference between students who succeed and students who struggle in introductory college courses is NOT:

    • Question type (main idea, word meanings, details)

    • Question level (higher order vs. lower order; literal vs. inferential)

      The complexity of what students can read is greatest predictor of success in college (ACT study)

Is This really A Crisis?


Act inc report

In 2006, ACT, Inc., released a report called Reading Between the Lines that showed which skills differentiated those students who equaled or exceeded the benchmark score (21 out of 36) in the reading section of the ACT college admissions

ACT, Inc., report


Act inc report1

The most important implication of this study:

“What students could read, in terms of its complexity, was at least as important as what they could do with what they read.”

ACT, Inc., report

CCSS Appendix A. p. 2


Ccss instructional shifts

  • Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational texts

  • Reading and writing grounded in evidence from text

  • Regular practice and instruction with complex texts and its academic vocabulary

CCSS Instructional Shifts


Ccss instructional shifts1

  • All students must be exposed to grade level text complexity regardless of their reading ability

CCSS Instructional Shifts

CCSS, Appendix A


What does exposed to grade level text complexity mean

Read - Alouds

Independent Reading

Shared Reading

Close reading of a passage

Multiple exposures

Reading for different purposes

Reading for extended periods of time

What does “exposED” To grade level text complexity MEAN?


Three part model for measuring text complexity

Three-Part Model for Measuring Text Complexity


Text complexity model

Text Complexity Model

  • Text complexity is defined by:

Quantitative measures – readability and other scores of text complexity often best measured by computer software.

Kansas Department of Education


Text complexity model1

Text Complexity Model

  • Text complexity is defined by:

Qualitative measures – levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands often best measured by an attentive human reader.

Kansas Department of Education


Text complexity model2

Text Complexity Model

  • Text complexity is defined by:

Reader and Task considerations – background knowledge of reader, motivation, interests, and complexity generated by tasks assigned often best made by educators employing their professional judgment.

Kansas Department of Education


Quantitative measures

A CLOSER LOOK

Quantitative Measures


Why text complexity matters

  • Sentence and word length

  • Frequency of unfamiliar words

  • Word frequency

  • Number of syllables in words

Quantitative measures


Quantitative measures1

  • Sentence length and vocabulary/word frequency

  • Fire Cat – names of characters appear frequently, challenging words are minimal

  • Sarah Plain and Tall– challenging words appear once or twice in a chapter

Quantitative measures

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smart


Fire cat

Joe took Pickles to the Chief, who was sitting at his desk.

“Oh!” said the Chief. “I know this young cat. He is the one who chases little cats.”

“How do you know?” asked Joe. The Chief answered, “A Fire Chief knows many things.” Just then the telephone began to ring.

Fire Cat

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smart


Sarah plain and tall

“Every-single-day,” I told him for the second time this week. For the twentieth time this month. The hundredth time this year? And the past few years?

Sarah Plain and Tall

Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smart


Revised lexile bands

Revised lexile bands

*Grade Bands reflect the 2012 Revised Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts


Implications for educators

General Rule:

Use any one of the quantitative analyzer tools to place text into a complexity band level.

For decisions about whether to place a text at the upper, lower, or middle of a band, use qualitative analysis.

(For drama and poetry, use qualitative measures.)

Implications for Educators


Qualitative measures

A CLOSER LOOK

Qualitative Measures


Qualitative measures1

  • Levels of meaning or purpose

  • Structure

  • Language conventionality and clarity

  • Knowledge demands

Qualitative measures

CCSS, Appendix A

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Qualitative measures2

  • Levels of meaning or purpose

    • Stage 1: Single level of meaning (often supported by illustrations); explicitly stated purpose

    • Stage 3: More than one level of meaning

    • Stage 5: Multiple levels require drawing extensively on reading/experiences from other sources; implicit purpose, may be hidden or obscure

Qualitative measures

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Why text complexity matters

  • Structure

    • Stage 1: Texts follow structure of common genres (simple narrative)

    • Stage 3: Texts include less common genres (e.g., autobiography, cause-effect expository)

    • Stage 5: Traits specific to a content-area discipline or use of unique chronologies/perspectives

Qualitative measures

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Qualitative measures3

  • Language conventionality and clarity

    • Stage 1: Literal

    • Stage 3: Figurative; some irony/sarcasm

    • Stage 5: Literary: high level of figurative, metaphorical language (e.g., Hemingway)

Qualitative measures

Elfrieda H. Hiebert,Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Hemingway ernest a farewell to arms

There were mists over the river and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet in their capes; their rifles were wet and under their capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of clips of thin, long 6.5 mm cartridges, bulged forward under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms.

CCSS, Appendix B, p. 150


Qualitative measures4

  • Knowledge demands (literary text)

    • Stage 1: Simple theme; everyday knowledge and familiarity with genre conventions required; low intertextuality (few if any references/allusions to other texts)

    • Stage 3: Complex ideas interwoven

    • Stage 5: Interconnected theme; cultural and literary knowledge useful; high intertextuality (many references/allusions to other texts)

Qualitative measures

Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Barbery muriel the elegance of the hedgehog

In our building there are two dogs: the whippet belonging to the Meurisses who looks like a skeleton covered over with beige leather hide, and a ginger cocker spaniel who belongs to Diane Badoise, an anorexic blond woman who wears Burberry raincoats and who is the daughter of a very la-di-da lawyer. The Whippet is called Athena and the cocker Neptune. Just in case you don’t yet understand what sort of place I live in…

Barbery, Muriel. The Elegance of the Hedgehog


Qualitative measures5

  • Knowledge demands (chiefly informational texts)

    • Stage 1: Everyday knowledge and familiarity with genre conventions required; low intertextuality(few if any references to/citations of other texts)

    • Stage 3: Complex knowledge and familiarity with genre conventions

    • Stage 5: Extensive, perhaps specialized discipline-specific content knowledge required; high intertextuality(many references to/citations of other texts)

Qualitative measures

ElfriedaH. Hiebert, Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6Edited by Martha C. Hougen, Ph.D., & Susan M. Smartt, Ph.D.

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2012


Reader and task considerations

A CLOSER LOOK

Reader and task considerations


Reader and task considerations1

  • Reasoning skills/strategic planning

  • Motivation and engagement

  • Knowledge and experience

  • Purpose for reading

  • Complexity of associated tasks

  • Skills and strategies

Reader and Task Considerations


Reader and task considerations2

Complexity of task assigned regarding text

Complexity of questions asked regarding text

Differences between literary texts and informational texts

Reader and Task Considerations


Determining text complexity

A CLOSER LOOK

Determining text complexity


Step 1 quantitative measures

Step 1: Quantitative measures

Lexile Text Measure: 870L

ATOS Book Level: 5.6

In which of the text complexity bands would this novel fall?

Kansas State Department of Educationwww.lexile.com


Quantitative measures ranges for text complexity grade bands

Quantitative Measures Ranges for Text Complexity Grade Bands

* The K-1 suggested Lexilerange was not identified by the Common Core State Standards and was added by Kansas.

** Taken from Accelerated Reader and the Common Core State Standards, available at the following URL:

http://doc.renlearn.com/KMNet/R004572117GKC46B.pdf

***Grade Bands reflect the 2012 Revised Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

Kansas State Department of Education www.lexile.com


Step 1 quantitative measures1

The quantitative measures is only the first of three “legs” of the text complexity triangle.

Final recommendation may be validated, influenced, or even over-ruled by examination of qualitative measures and the reader and task considerations.

Step 1: quantitative measures

Kansas State Department of Education


Step 2 qualitative measures

  • Measures such as:

    • Levels of meaning

    • Levels of purpose

    • Structure

    • Organization

    • Language conventionality

    • Language clarity

    • Prior knowledge demands

Step 2: qualitative measures

Kansas State Department of Education


Step 2 qualitative measures1

Rubrics for Literary and Informational Text:

The rubric for literary text and the rubric for informational text allow educators to evaluate the important elements of text that are often missed by computer software that tends to focus on more easily measured factors.

Step 2: qualitative measures

Kansas State Department of Education


Step 2 qualitative measures2

Because the elementsfor literary texts are different from information texts, these two rubrics contain different content. However, the formatting of each document is exactly the same.

And because these factors represent continua rather than discrete stages or levels, numeric values are not associated with these rubrics. Instead, four points along each continuum are identified: high, middle high, middle low, and low.

Step 2: qualitative measures

Kansas State Department of Education


Step 2 qualitative measures3

So…

How is the rubric used?

How would To Kill a Mockingbird fair when analyzed through the lens of the Literary Text Rubric?

Step 2: qualitative measures


Why text complexity matters

x

X

x

x

x

X

x

X

x

X

X

x

X

x

x

X


Step 2 qualitative measures4

Step 2: qualitative measures

Lexile Text Measure: 870L

ATOS Book Level: 5.6

But after reflecting upon the qualitative measures, we believed:


Step 2 qualitative measures5

Initial placement of To Kill a Mockingbird into a text complexity band changed when the qualitative measures were examined.

Remember, this completes only the first two legs of the text complexity triangle.

The reader and task considerations still remain.

Step 2: qualitative measures


Step 3 reader and task

  • Considerations such as:

    • Motivation Knowledge and experience

    • Purpose for reading

    • Complexity of task assigned regarding text

    • Complexity of questions asked regarding text

Step 3: Reader and task


Step 3 reader and task1

Questions for Professional Reflection on Reader and Task Considerations:

The questions provided in this resource are meant to spur teacher thought and reflection upon the text, students, and any tasks associated with the text.

Step 3: reader and task


Step 3 reader and task2

The questions are largely open-ended questions without single, correct answers, but help educators to think through the implications of using a particular text in the classroom.

Step 3: reader and task


Step 3 reader and task3

Based upon theexamination of the Reader and Task Considerations, the third leg of the text complexity model has been completed and final placement within a text complexity band may be determined.

Step 3: Reader and Task


Next steps

The texts and the annotations accompanying them will provide educators with a deeper, more multidimensional picture of text complexity that can be used to help them select materials.

Next steps

  • Develop a pool of annotated texts that exemplify and help benchmark the process of evaluating text complexity, using both quantitative and qualitative measures and the professional judgment of teachers -- complex text playlists!


Implications for teaching and learning

  • Current instructional materials will need to be supplemented, enhanced, or moved to a different grade.

Implications for teaching and learning


Useful websites

Connecticut State Department of Education: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/site/default.asp

Council of Chief State School Officers: http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Digital_Resources/Common_Core_Implementation_Video_Series.html

Kansas State Department of Education: http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4778#TextRes

LexileAnalyzer: www.lexile.com/findabook

Maine Department of Education: http://www.maine.gov/education/lres/commoncore/

National PTA: http://www.pta.org/common_core_state_standards.asp

The Hunt Institute (video series): http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHuntInstitute#g/u

The Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction & Assessment, PreK-6 http://products.brookespublishing.com/The-Fundamentals-of-Literacy-Instruction-and-Assessment-Pre-K6-P256.aspx

Useful websites


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