Text Complexity and the Common Core

MetaMetrics recorded a webinar on Valentines describing the importance of text complexity and the Common Core. Specific topics that may interest readers have been marked below.

Minute 6:45 The Crisis of Text Complexity

  • High school textbooks have declined in all subject areas over several decades
  • Average length of sentences in K-8 textbooks has declined from 20 to 14 words
  • Vocabulary demands have declined, eg., 8th grade textbooks = former 5th grade texts; 12 grade anthologies = former 7th grade texts
  • Complexity of college and careers texts has remained stead or increased

Minute 8:51 Recap of the ACT Study

  • Question type (main idea, word meanings, details) is NOT the chief differentiator between students scoring above and below the benchmark
  • Question level (higher order vs. lower order; literal vs. inferential) is Not the chief differentiator between students
  • What students could read, in terms of its complexity—rather than what they could do with what they read—is greatest predictor of success

Minute 14:20: Common Scale of Text Complexity

  • Text MeasuresThe six measures now share a common scale—anchored by
    texts representative of those required in typical first-year-credit-bearing college courses and in workforce training programs
  • The common scale is being used by the testing consortia to decide what passages to put on their assessments
  • Image

Minute 18:50: Text Complexity Model

  • Text complexity has implications for all content areas

Minute 23:30: Qualitative Measures of Text Complexity

  • Human judgment remains critical in judging text complexity
  • Text Complexity Rubric

Minute 29:17 How Should Instruction Address Text Complexity?

About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
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