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SRI & the Common Core State Standards: Text Complexity

The Common Core State Standards clearly recognizes that growth reading comprehension depends on exposing readers on increasing complex texts.

Cited as a measure that fully informs the quantitative measure of text complexity, The Lexile Framework for Reading is a proven method to match text to reader ability to support increasing proficiency in comprehension.

SRI provides a carefully calibrated staircase of text complexity reporting in Lexile measures. Like most other quantitative measures of text complexity, the Lexile Framework examines two features of text to determine its readability—word frequency and syntactic complexity.

complexity triangle diagram
Quantitative: A quantitative level is accessed in the form of a Lexile® Measure. Read more about Lexile measures properties.
Qualitative: Lexile levels for text include specific recommendations to understand various qualities of texts. See how Lexile measure for text show quality measures.
Reader and Task: The Reader and Task function is supported by the proven dynamic of matching readers to Lexile leveled texts. Download an SRI Recommended Reading Report and the SRI Targeted Reading report to see how SRI matches readers to text.


The Lexile Framework for Reading is useful as a quantitative measure of text complexity because of its advantage of placing both readers (ability) and text (difficulty) on the same scale, thereby facilitating the matching of students with texts of appropriate complexity.

Text measures typically range from 200L to 1700L, but they can go below zero (reported as "Beginning Reader") and above 2000L.

Like most other quantitative measures of text complexity, the Lexile Framework examines two features of text to determine its readability—semantic difficulty and syntactic complexity. Within the Lexile Framework, text difficulty is determined by examining the characteristics of word frequency and sentence length.


The following designations are used in conjunction with the Lexile measure of a text to indicate special characteristics of the text.

Illustrated Glossary (IG). A text designated as “IG” consists of independent pieces of text such as in the glossary of a book. These independent pieces may be interchanged without affecting the flow of the text. “IG” texts typically contain some or all of the following characteristics:

  • The definitions of words (using such indicators as "or" or a dash) or their pronunciations are contained directly in the text.
  • Technical vocabulary is printed in a contrasting type (e.g., bold, italic).
  • Each topic is presented on one to two pages, with titles and/or captions for each paragraph.
  • Illustrations are incorporated into the text.

Texts designated as "IG" are good resources when conducting research on an unfamiliar topic.

Non-Conforming Text (NC). A text designated as "NC" consists of semantic difficulty (vocabulary) and semantic complexity (sentence length) that is inconsistent with the developmental appropriateness of the text. Typically these texts are written at a higher level than would be suggested by the content and the format of the text. Texts designated as "NC" are useful when matching advanced readers with text at an appropriate developmental level.

Beginning Reading (BR). A text designated as "BR" is any text that has a Lexile measure of zero of below. The measure is shown only as "BR" without the zero or negative number appearing.

Non-Prose (NP). A text designated as "NP" is any book whose content is at least 50% nonstandard prose. Some examples are poems, plays, songs, and books with incorrect or no punctuation.

Adult-Directed (AD). A text designated as "AD" is one designed to be read to or with readers. The following guidelines should be used when examining an "AD" text:

  • Text Placement
  • Sentence Length
  • Font Size and Placement
  • Basic Word Usage
  • Illustration Context
  • Book Size

Texts designated as "AD" are useful when reading to a group and can be used to improve listening comprehension skills (e.g., making predictions, engaging in discussion, identifying meaning, and acquiring vocabulary).


The Recommended Reading Report can be generated by students’ Lexile level, grade ranges and their stated reading interests. Suggested titles represent fiction and non fiction selection from a frequently updated database.

The Recommended Reading List can be generated after each assessment. A similar list is available in Scholastic Reading Counts! and can be generated by students more frequently.

The Targeted Reading report allows teachers to see the upper range that students can manage with support to accelerated reading growth.

Stretch Ranges

The Common Core State Initiative emphasizes a grade-by-grade “staircase” of increasing text complexity that rises from beginning reading to the college and career readiness level.

By stretching the current K-12 text continuum to the target of 1300L for Grade 12, we can ensure our students receive an instructional alignment with postsecondary text demands.

In SRI, educators can modify the student reading goals and proficiency cut score reporting by individual state standards or the new Common Core State Standards SRI stretch cut scores. These performance standard alignments can be accessed and customized by administrators in SAM.

Customizing Reporting

SRI supports customization of measures that will align to:

  • SRI National Norms: the default setting in SRI
  • CCSS Stretch Cut Scores: aligned standards
  • State Cut Scores for Lexile Reporting States: Aligned to State Exams.

States with Cut Score and Forecasting Alignments

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts (2011)
  • Ohio (elementary only)
  • Oklahoma
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming