Learning A-Z Text Leveling System
The best-in-class, proprietary Learning A-Z Text Leveling System was developed over ten years with input from teachers and instructional experts. Thousands of books, ranging in difficulty from simple sentences to complex novels and academic texts, were put into the system to create developmentally appropriate levels for students.
The leveling criteria used by the Text Leveling System accurately and reliably measure text complexity to support differentiated instruction. Our Text Leveling System follows the guidelines for determining text complexity outlined in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Standards call for an evaluation of student reading materials in three areas of text complexity: qualitative measures, quantitative measures, and reader and task considerations.
The Spanish Text Leveling System takes into account the unique features of the Spanish language. The leveling criteria was adjusted and modified accordingly in order to create accurate levels for students learning to read in Spanish.
Why Use the Text Leveling System
To accurately level a text, both quantitative and qualitative measures must be taken into account. Most other leveling systems give information about the quantitative measures of a text, such as sentence length, word count, number of syllables, and so on, and rely on teachers to evaluate the qualitative measures, such as illustration support, concept load, text organization, etc.
The Learning A-Z Text Leveling System looks at both quantitative and qualitative measures to determine the level of a text. Also, with our Level Correlation Chart it's easy to place students into books measured by other leveling systems.
How Texts Are Leveled
Every text assigned a Learning A-Z level goes through a strenuous review process to ensure accurate and reliable leveling results.
- Step 1: A Leveling Expert reviews the text and the applicable qualitative measures.
- Step 2: The text and qualitative measures are entered into the Learning A-Z Text Leveling System, which scores the quantitative and qualitative measures.
- Step 3: The results are reviewed by a Leveling Expert.
- Step 4: The results are confirmed by a second, and sometimes third, Leveling Expert.
- Step 5: The text is officially assigned a Learning A-Z level.
The Common Core Model of Text Complexity
Qualitative measures are text attributes that can only be evaluated by a human reader. These include factors such as the author's purpose, the levels of meaning, structure of the text, language conventions, language clarity, knowledge demands, and the complexity and importance of visual devices.
The Text Leveling System takes into account the following qualitative measures:
- Predictability of text
- Text structure and organization
- Logical nature of organization
- Text and feature distractions
- Labeling and reader supports
- Illustration support
- Text reliance on
- Knowledge demands
- Concept load
- Familiarity of topic (common everyday vs. unfamiliar)
- Single vs. multi-themed
- Intertextual dependence
Quantitative measures are statistical measurements of text. These include factors such as average sentence length, number of syllables per word, and the total number of different words.
Reading A-Z's leveling criteria take into account the following quantitative measures:
- Total word count
- Number of different words
- Ratio of different words to total words
- Number of high frequency words
- Ratio of high frequency words to total words
- Number of low frequency words
- Ratio of low frequency words to total words
- Sentence length
- Sentence complexity
Consideration of the reader and the reading task
Consideration of the reader and the reading task is the final component of text complexity as outlined in the Common Core Standards. Each reader brings different skills, background, and motivation to the act of reading. For example, a student who is interested in the topic of a particular book is likely to bring more background knowledge to the reading task and to be motivated to learn more about the subject.
Reader and task considerations are something teachers must evaluate for themselves. No leveling system can encompass these considerations because they depend upon the circumstances of each student in relation to each particular book at the time of reading.
By evaluating the qualitative and quantitative criteria accurately and reliably, the Learning A-Z leveling system frees teachers to focus their energy and attention where they are most needed—on the reader and task considerations that affect their individual students.