How does CommonLit 360 approach text complexity?

One of the central tenets behind the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is that texts should be appropriately complex and should become increasingly complex throughout a student’s academic experience. CommonLit’s curation specialists use both quantitative and qualitative measures of text complexity to determine whether a particular text is appropriately complex.

For quantitative measurement, our team uses the Lexile Text Measurement System as an initial metric to determine grade-level band, according to Common Core-aligned Lexile “stretch” ranges, defined by “the demand of text that students should be reading to be college and career ready by the end of Grade 12” (CCSO, 2012).

For qualitative measures of text complexity, the team refers to the complexity rubric for informational and literary texts from the State Collaboratives on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). This tool helps us analyze a text’s complexity based on text structure, language features, purpose/meaning, and background knowledge demands. Together, these data points allow us to make a determination about whether a particular text is appropriate to meet grade-level expectations.