Lexiles - Frequently Asked Questions


The following are frequently asked questions about Lexiles. Please click on a question below to view the answer.

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 BandCurrent Lexile Band"Stretch" Lexile Band
K-1N/AN/A
2-3450L-725L420L-820L
4-5645L-845L740L-1010L
6-8860L-1010L925L-1185L
9-10960L-1115L1050L-1335L
11-CCR1070L-1220L1185L-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.

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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.

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When searching, why do I receive results that include Lexile scores outside my specified range?
When a Lexile level is specified in search parameters, EBSCO products are designed to include results for which the Lexile level deviates 100 points above/below your specified Lexile criteria. This ensures that users receive all possible results within a reasonable Lexile range.

If you do not specify a Lexile level in your search parameters, the EBSCO interface you are using returns all available results, potentially including results that do not have a Lexile ranking assigned. When you receive results that do not have a Lexile level, this indicates that the interface/profile you are using includes a database that does not provide Lexile rankings.

To view a list of the EBSCO databases that your profile is accessing, do one of the following:
  1. Click the Help button in the top right corner of the interface.

  2. Locate the Database Help section at the bottom of Help page. All the EBSCO databases that you are currently accessing are listed.
  3. OR

  4. If available, click the Title Lists link located at the top right corner of the interface. All the EBSCO databases that you are currently accessing are listed.

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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:

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: 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.

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Which EBSCO databases support searching by Lexile?
The databases listed below support a Lexile Reading Level limiter on the search screen:

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See also:

Related terms: Lexile Reading Levels

ID: 1503
Topic: Interface Features, Database Products and Content
Services: EBSCOhost Research Interface, Searchasaurus, Student Research Center, Kids Search, Literary Reference Center, Points of View Reference Center, Canadian Points of View, Biography Reference Center, English Language Learner Reference Center, Literary Reference Center Plus, Science Reference Center, History Reference Center, Australia/New Zealand Points of View, Poetry & Short Story Reference Center
Link: http://support.ebsco.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=1503
Updated: February 2014

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