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The Lexile Framework® for Listening is a scientific approach to measuring both students’ listening ability and the audio complexity of listening materials on the same Lexile developmental scale. The idea behind the Lexile Framework for Listening is simple: If we know how well a student can listen and how hard an audio passage is to comprehend, we can predict how well that student will likely understand that audio passage. 

There are two types of Lexile measures in the listening framework: the Lexile listening measure for students and the Lexile audio measure for audio materials.

Student Measures

Students get Lexile measures by taking a listening test that is linked to the Lexile scale. Listening tests include audio passages such as teacher talks, radio reports, narratives and dialogues. The passages reflect content across academic domains – English Language Arts, science, social studies and math – and social language that students are likely to encounter in school. The listening passages are followed by questions that test students’ ability to identify the main idea, details and to make inferences. Upon test completion, students receive a Lexile measure. For example, if a student receives a 900L on their listening test, their Lexile listening measure is 900L. 

Audio Measures

Lexile measures for audio materials are determined by the Lexile® Audio Analyzer which analyzes the content features of what is spoken and the acoustic features of how it is spoken to measure the complexity of audio passages. Variables such as sophistication of vocabulary, amount and length of pauses, word-sound similarity as well as complexity and frequency of grammatical constructions factor into the Lexile audio measure. 

Why Assess Listening?

Listening is an important piece of the literacy construct both in the school years and beyond. Findings of the Graduate Management Admission Council’s recent study show that communication skills top the list with listening ranked second of skills and abilities employers look for in new hires.1 In addition:

  • Better listeners make better readers. A true picture of a student’s literacy lies in understanding both reading and listening skills together.2
  • Listening is a part of many states’ ELA standards, accounting for 20 percent of ELA test scores.
  • 80 percent of what we learn, we learn by listening.3

Listening Assessment Sample Items

Here are one- to two-minute examples of audio passages and listening test questions that are typical for a listening assessment linked to the Lexile Framework for Listening. 

Grade 1 Sample Video Grades 3-5 Sample Video

Grades 6-8 Sample Video Grades 9-12 Sample Video

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