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Lexiles - Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about Lexiles.

What are Lexiles and how do they support the Common Core Standards?

Some EBSCO databases include Lexiles, or reading levels, in citation information. The Lexile rankings assigned to a result provide educators with an estimate of the reading difficulty of the result, and the approximate grade level reading ability required for comprehension.

The Lexile table below aligns the Lexiles with the Common Core Standards' recommendations for text complexity grade bands.

Grade Band Age Current Lexile Band "Stretch" Lexile Band
K-1 5-7 Years Old N/A N/A
2-3 7-9 years old 450L-725L 420L-820L
4-5 9-11 years old 645L-845L 740L-1010L
6-8 11-14 years old 860L-1010L 925L-1185L
9-10 14-16 years old 960L-1115L 1050L-1335L
11-CCR 16-18 years old 1070L-1220L 1185L-1385L

The Common Core Standards promote increasing text complexity to help students build on literacy success and challenge themselves with more complex texts. The chart shown above is a guideline to select appropriate text for each grade, including text for a "stretch" to the next level.

For more information about the Lexile Framework and Common Core Standards, visit the MetaMetrics website here.

How do I limit my searches by Lexile Reading Level?

Several EBSCO databases and interfaces include the ability to limit search results by Lexile Reading Level.

To limit searches by Lexile Reading Level:

  1. Click the Advanced Search link to access all available limiters.
  2. Select a reading level from the Lexile Reading Level limiter.

Additionally, you can search by Lexile in many EBSCO databases using the LX search tag. To see whether the database supports the LX limiter, click the Database Help link on the search screen and scroll down to the Searchable Fields area. If the LX limiter appears, you can enter LX and a Lexile range along with your search terms.

For example, in a database such as Middle Search Plus, you could enter hurricanes AND LX 500 - 750 to find articles about hurricanes within that Lexile range.

How does EBSCO analyze the Lexile score of articles?

EBSCO and MetaMetrics have formed a partnership that allows EBSCO to use the MetaMetrics Lexile Analysis tool to measure and score the text difficulty of articles in which EBSCO has secured rights from publishers.

Articles that are processed as ASCII/HTML format are passed through a pre-processor that identifies prose within an article. Non-prose content within an article is not evaluated in Lexile measurement.  EBSCO worked closely with MetaMetrics to fine-tune the pre-processor to assure that the most appropriate information in an article is selected for analysis. As part of this joint project, MetaMetrics and EBSCO drafted the following technical rules for the pre-processor:

  • processing of prose content within paragraphs
  • elimination of backmatter, such as references, bibliographies, resources, Web site URLs, etc.
  • elimination of bulleted lists
  • elimination of captions 
  • elimination of insets

Content that has been identified by the pre-processor is sent through the Lexile Analyzer to generate a Lexile measure. The MetaMetrics Lexile Analyzer uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the Lexile measure of the prose within an article. To assure the highest relevance in assigning a measure, the EBSCO - MetaMetrics team created additional rules in the analyzer logic:

  • no score is applied if the article (i.e., the text that was selected by the pre-processor) is less than 125 words 
  • no score is applied if the Lexile measure is 200L or less

Testing showed that these additional rules removed the most problematic articles from Lexile measurement, increasing the overall accuracy and reliability of measures throughout EBSCO products.

The nature of periodical and reference content poses interesting challenges in applying accurate Lexile measures in a mass-production environment. With the implementation of the upgraded pre-processor and Lexile Analyzer, MetaMetrics and EBSCO have created a technology solution for this challenge.  With the new technology solution in place, the tool now meets a near-100% acceptable variation (within one grade level or less) between the automated process set up by EBSCO and the manual process that is used by MetaMetrics.

What does this means to the educator and parent? It means that the acceptable variation will allow your student/child to select and read content that is in the "sweet spot" of comprehension.

EBSCO and MetaMetrics are very pleased with the technical project that has been implemented. Both teams feel that the technology will allow educators, parents, and students to feel confident in the Lexile measures that are applied to the content found in EBSCO databases.

Which EBSCO databases support searching by Lexile?

The databases listed below support a Lexile Reading Level limiter on the search screen:

  • Advanced Placement Source (aqh)
  • Associates Programs Source (oih)
  • Associates Programs Source Plus (p6h)
  • Australia / New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre (apr)
  • Australia / New Zealand Reference Centre (anh)
  • Biography Collection (b4h)
  • Biography Collection Complete (b5h)
  • Biography Reference Center (b6h)
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: Elementary School Edition (n4h)
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: High School Edition (n9h)
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition (n8h)
  • Book Collection: Nonfiction (ndh)
  • Book Index with Reviews (kdh)
  • Britannica Online Collection (qoh)
  • Canadian Literary Centre (cjh)
  • Canadian Points of View Reference Centre (p3h)
  • Canadian Reference Centre (rch)
  • Columbia Granger's Poetry Database: School Edition (pgh)
  • General Science Collection (gsh)
  • History Reference Center (khh)
  • MagillOnLiterature Plus (mjh)
  • MainFile (mfi)
  • MAS Complete (mat)
  • MAS High Search Main Edition (mae)
  • MAS Ultra - School Edition (ulh)
  • Middle Search Main Edition (mme)
  • Middle Search Plus (mih)
  • New Scientist Archive (n2h)
  • Newspaper Source (nfh)
  • Newspaper Source Plus (n5h)
  • Newspaper Source Select (nss)
  • NoveList (noh)
  • NoveList K-8 (nnh)
  • Novelist Plus (neh)
  • NoveList Plus K-8 (njh)
  • Poetry & Short Story Reference Center (prf)
  • Points of View Reference Center (pwh)
  • Primary Search (prh)
  • Primary Search Main Edition (pme)
  • Read It! (elr)
  • Science Reference Center (sch)
  • Science Reference Center Main Edition (sme)
  • Texas Reference Center (tih)
  • TOPICsearch (tth)
  • UK/Ireland Reference Centre (ukh)
  • Vocational and Career Collection (voh)
  • Vocational Studies Complete (v1h)
  • Vocational Studies Premier (vsh)
  • World History Collection (wdh)


See also: