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New information makes North Dakota State Assessment more valuable to students and parents


November 26, 2018

North Dakota State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the results of North Dakota’s annual exams for English and mathematics will include new information to help students improve their learning, and assist parents in evaluating the academic progress of their children. The information is called Lexile and Quantile Frameworks.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction administers a state assessment system aligned to the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards to students in grades 3-8 and 10.

Presenting this data as part of the North Dakota State Assessment will give parents valuable data on their childrens’ reading and math skills, Baesler said. It will aid students in setting advancement goals in reading and math, and help parents and teachers identify students who may need extra instruction.

The information will add value to the State Assessment, because it will supply parents and teachers with an easily understood measurement of a student’s English and math skills, and show students’ growth in those skills and knowledge over time, 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.

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. “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, has a Lexile value of 680. Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” has a value of 810. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final book in J.K. Rowling’s series, is 880.

The Quantile framework assigns values to more than 500 math skills and concepts, and forecasts a student’s ability to use and understand them. For example, identifying and naming shapes such as a hexagon, trapezoid, parallelogram and rhombus has a quantile measurement of 250. More complex tasks such as dividing a fraction and a whole number has a value of 870.

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, Baesler said. Lexile and Quantile information is used to provide students with reading and math work that is challenging, without being so difficult that they may be discouraged.

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 test, called MAP, which are administered in some North Dakota schools to measure a student’s academic proficiency and growth.

Because of their use in MAP tests, Baesler said Lexile and Quantile measurements are already familiar to many parents and students, but they have previously only been used in district-wide tests. Now, they will be used as part of the North Dakota State Assessment results report, Baesler said. For the first time, students can use a test result from the state assessment and measure their progress throughout the year.

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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