Baesler: New Information Adds Value To ND Assessment

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office: 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Email: dewetzel@nd.gov  

BISMARCK, N.D., Oct. 24, 2018 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the results of North Dakota’s annual exams for English and mathematics will feature new information to help students improve their learning and better evaluate their academic progress.

These new measures are called Lexile and Quantile Frameworks. Presenting this data as part of the North Dakota State Assessment will help parents evaluate their children’s advancement in reading and math, Baesler said. It will aid teachers in identifying students who need extra instruction.

The information will add value to the state test, because it will give parents and teachers an easily understood measurement of a student’s English and math skills, and show his or her rate of academic progress, the superintendent said.

The Lexile framework measures the complexity of written text and a student’s ability to read and understand it. Quantile measures the difficulty of math skills and concepts, and each student’s ability to comprehend them. These measurements are expressed using a number and a number range. They are not linked to a student’s grade level.

The Lexile analysis looks at a text’s sentence length and word frequency and assigns it a number, which is generally on a scale of 200 to 1700. The higher the number, the more complex the text. The scale does not measure a book’s artistic value.

For example, Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, has a Lexile value of 680, which makes it less difficult to read than Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, which has a value of 810. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in J.K. Rowling’s celebrated series, has a Lexile value of 880.

The Quantile framework has assigned individual values to more than 500 math skills and concepts, and forecasts a student’s ability to use and understand them. These values are presented on a scale of 100 to 1500, with higher Quantile values describing more difficult concepts and problems.

These tools give teachers and parents the information they need to evaluate whether a student’s reading and math assignments are in line with his or her skills. Lexile and Quantile data is used to provide reading and math work that is challenging to the student, without being so difficult that he or she may be discouraged.

A year ago, the Department of Public Instruction hired American Institutes for Research, an education nonprofit, to design new North Dakota State Assessments for math and English. The new assessments were needed to mesh with new learning standards that had been developed by groups of North Dakota educators.

The State Assessment in English and mathematics is given to students in grades three through eight, and in the 10th grade. During the 2018-19 school year, they will be administered starting March 18, 2019, and ending May 10, 2019.

The Lexile and Quantile measurements were developed more than 20 years ago by the founders of MetaMetrics, a company based in Durham, N.C., and supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The measurements are already included in a separate type of test, called MAP, which are administered in some North Dakota schools to measure a student’s academic proficiency and growth. Because of their use of MAP tests, North Dakota teachers are familiar with Lexile and Quantile measurements and how to use them in their instruction, Baesler said.

Additional Lexile and Quantile information and resources for parents and educators can be found on the North Dakota State Assessment Portal.

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