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Below are questions and answers about the Lexile Framework® for Listening organized into four linked categories: purpose & benefits, Lexile listening measures for students, Lexile audio measures for audio material, and development of the listening framework. 

PURPOSE & BENEFITS

Why did MetaMetrics develop the Lexile Framework for Listening?
What is the purpose of the Lexile Framework for Listening?
What are the advantages of reporting Lexile listening measures for students?

LEXILE LISTENING MEASURES FOR STUDENTS

How does a student get a Lexile listening measure?
Who are listening assessments appropriate for?
How does a listening assessment test a student’s listening ability?
What kind of listening passages are included on the assessments?
How do students’ listening assessment results tend to compare to their reading comprehension assessment results on the Lexile scale?
Is norming information about student performance available?
Can norming information developed for U.S. K-12 students be applied to interpret score results of English Foreign Language students internationally?

LEXILE AUDIO MEASURES FOR AUDIO MATERIAL

How was the Lexile Audio Analyzer developed?
Does the Analyzer evaluate speakers’ accents as one of the features in delivering a Lexile measure on the audio difficulty?
Do audio measures differ from text measures for the same content?
Where can educators access Lexile-measured audio material?
How can audio materials be measured?

DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEXILE FRAMEWORK FOR LISTENING

How was the Framework developed?
What are the speech and content features analyzed when determining the Lexile measure of audio material?
How does the listening framework correlate to the Lexile scale?

PURPOSE & BENEFITS

Why did MetaMetrics develop the Lexile Framework for Listening?

MetaMetrics is developing new Lexile technology and services to address and measure more of the literacy construct – listening, early reading skills, oral reading and writing.  These new developments offer a fuller picture of students’ literacy skills than reading comprehension scores alone can provide.

What is the purpose of the Lexile Framework for Listening? 

Just like the Lexile Framework® for Reading, the listening framework is a scientific approach that places both students and listening resources on the same developmental scale. Through this approach, educators can evaluate if the level of audio material is appropriate for a given student and ensure that students are matched with material that facilitates the optimal growth in students’ listening ability. 

What are the advantages of reporting Lexile listening measures for students?

Reporting Lexile listening measures for students gives education products a competitive edge. Products and services powered by the Lexile Framework for Listening can enable their customers to:

  • Personalize learning by connecting students to audio content at their ability level.
  • Evaluate if their students can comprehend what they are hearing in class.
  • Measure student growth using a scientifically valid, objective approach.
  • Prepare students for state tests including listening and for ELL exams.

LEXILE LISTENING MEASURES FOR STUDENTS

How does a student get a Lexile listening measure?

A student gets a Lexile listening measure by taking a listening assessment that is linked to the Lexile listening scale.

Who are listening assessments appropriate for?

State standards refer to listening comprehension at all grades. In lower grades, listening assessments help test students’ ability to comprehend (main idea, inferencing, specific details), separate from reading demands that they haven’t yet mastered. In the middle and higher grades, listening assessments can help evaluate students’ comprehension through two modalities print and audio according to real world demands. Lexile listening assessments are independent of any particular grade or school.

How does a listening assessment test a student’s listening ability?

Listening tests linked to the Lexile scale 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, to recall specific details and to make inferences about the meaning implied but not explicitly stated. Upon test completion, students receive a Lexile measure. For example, if a student receives an 880L on their listening test, their Lexile listening measure is 880L. 

What kind of listening passages are included on the assessments?

When taking listening assessments, students listen to passages from a variety of genres and topics that are representative of the listening they encounter in school and daily life. That includes:

  • Teacher talks, which mirror what students typically encounter in teacher-led classrooms. 
  • Radio reports, which provide factual information or explanation about a particular subject or topic.
  • Narratives, including both fiction and nonfiction stories, read in the style of audiobooks.
  • Dialogues, which are conversations among two or more speakers.

How do students’ listening assessment results tend to compare to their reading comprehension assessment results on the Lexile scale?

Lexile listening measures have been mapped onto the reading scale, so that the typical student will receive similar measures in listening as they would in reading. There are some differences, however, in how students process audio and print during the course of their school years.

In lower grades, students are able to deal with more complex audio than print. There are a few reasons for why listening is easier in the lower grades:

  • Students learn to listen before they learn to read.
  • Listeners don’t have to decode words on a page in order to comprehend what is being said.

In higher grades, students find it easier to access complex information via print rather than listening. Listeners in the higher grades face challenges with academic listening such as:

  • Audio is fleeting, ephemeral.
  • Listeners cannot control the pace, even if the information has not been processed.
  • Listeners cannot focus on certain parts or re-read the previous sentence.
  • Listeners might be confused by an unknown word or garbled phrase and lose on-going, subsequent content.

In other words, students find listening easier in lower grades and reading easier in higher grades.

Is norming information about student performance available?

Norms, which describe the performance of large groups of students, provide information as to the typical range of Lexile listening measures for students by grade. Preliminary Lexile listening student norms for K-12 students in the United States will be available in the spring of 2020.

Can norming information developed for U.S. K-12 students be applied to interpret score results of English Foreign Language students internationally?

International students can refer to U.S. norms to compare themselves against the typical standards and skills of students in the United States. However, for international EFL students to compare themselves against students in their home countries, separate norms tables will be developed.

LEXILE AUDIO MEASURES FOR AUDIO MATERIAL

How was the Lexile Audio Analyzer developed?

The variables in the Lexile® Audio Analyzer are the result of extensive research to discover which features, among dozens investigated, are most predictive of listening difficulty. The Analyzer evaluates acoustics and content of audio material to deliver a Lexile measure. Vocabulary, grammar, word sounds and delivery are the indicators that the Analyzer evaluates. 

  • Vocabulary provides information such as the sophistication of words used and how abstract or concrete a word is. Age of word acquisition is the most salient vocabulary variable.
  • Grammar looks at how words are formed into sentences. Complexity and frequency of grammar structures, as well as sentence length, are the important variables here.
  • Word sounds determine how easy it is to form a mental picture of the words as they are spoken. The most important variable here is the frequency of similar sounding words in the text, such as chair, hair, hare.
  • Delivery refers to elements of speech rather than content such as amount and length of pausing, speech clarity and intonation.

Does the Analyzer evaluate speakers’ accents as one of the features in delivering a Lexile measure on the audio difficulty?

The difficulty or ease a listener has in understanding a speaker with an accent or dialect is dependent on both the listener and the speaker. MetaMetrics assumes that audio material for educational purposes does not include heavy regional accents as the Analyzer does not factor in that feature at this time.

Do audio measures differ from text measures for the same content?

Think of the last time you listened to a radio show or podcast and didn’t catch everything that was said and it’s easy to see why audio measures differ from text measures even when the text is the same.

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. 

Where can educators access Lexile-measured audio material?

Educators can help match students with audio content at their listening level. Resources for Lexile-measured content will be quickly growing. Plans are underway for educators, parents and students to be able to find Lexile-measured audio content much as Find a Book now helps students find reading matches.

Educators can now access Lexile-measured podcasts at Listenwise, a subscriber-based listening comprehension platform designed to advance literacy and learning. The Listenwise library includes social studies, science, English Language Arts and current events podcasts.

MetaMetrics is actively in the process of getting more audio materials measured from content publishers. 

How can audio materials be measured?

Publishers and content developers wanting Lexile measures for audio material can obtain certified Lexile measures by submitting content for measurement to our Lexile Resource Measurement team. 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEXILE FRAMEWORK FOR LISTENING

How was the Framework developed?

The development of the Lexile Framework® for Listening was guided by MetaMetrics®’ research. Components of the Framework include: listening assessments that result in Lexile measures for students; the audio analysis that results in Lexile measures for audio materials; and the placement of both student ability and audio material onto the Lexile scale. 

To develop the listening passages and items for the Lexile Item Bank, MetaMetrics worked in partnership with Listenwise, Achieve3000®, DaDa/Teach Away and Tales2go, Inc. Field studies were conducted with more than 17,000 domestic and international students in Grades 1-12 throughout 2019. More than 1,000 test questions and over 75 test forms were used in the field studies.

Four types of passages reflecting the listening that students encounter in school and daily life are used in testing – teacher talks, radio reports, narratives and dialogues. Test items assess students’ understanding of the main idea, their ability to recall specific details, and their ability to make inferences about the meaning implied, but not explicitly stated.

Just like the Lexile Framework® for Reading has a text analyzer to evaluate text complexity, the Lexile Framework® for Listening provides a way to evaluate the listening difficulty of audio material. The variables in the Lexile® Audio Analyzer are the result of extensive research to discover which features, among dozens investigated, are most predictive of listening difficulty. 

The Analyzer evaluates the acoustics and content of audio material to deliver a Lexile measure that indicates its complexity. Vocabulary, grammar, word sounds and delivery are the four main indicators that the Analyzer evaluates.

What are the acoustic and content indicators analyzed when determining the Lexile measure of audio material?

Vocabulary, grammar, word sounds and delivery are the indicators that the Analyzer evaluates. 

  • Vocabulary provides information such as the sophistication of the words used and how abstract or concrete a word is. Age of word acquisition is the most salient vocabulary variable.
  • Grammar looks at how words are formed into sentences. Complexity and frequency of grammar structures, as well as sentence length, are the important variables here.
  • Word sounds determine how easy it is to form a mental picture of the words as they are spoken. The most important variable here is the frequency of similar sounding words in the text, such as chair, hair, hare.
  • Delivery refers to elements of speech rather than content such as amount and length of pausing, speech clarity and intonation.

How does the listening framework map to the Lexile scale?

The Lexile Framework for Listening uses the same scale as the Lexile Framework for Reading. This way, comparisons can be made about students’ relative ability levels in both listening and reading.  To map listening assessments to the Lexile scale, assessment data from more than 17,500 students were collected. Students were both domestic and international, both struggling and on grade-level representing Grades 1-12 during three data collection windows in 2019. Data from students who took both reading and listening tests were analyzed and calibrated. 

In addition, audio measures were mapped onto the Lexile scale, just like texts were mapped onto the reading scale.