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Our Chief Product Officer Answers Your Questions About Oral Reading


Alistair Van Moere is our Chief Product Officer and led the development of our new oral reading framework. Alistair has an MA in English Language Teaching and a Ph.D. in Language Testing. He has worked as a teacher, examiner, director of studies, university lecturer and test developer, in the US, UK, Japan and Thailand.

How does the Lexile Framework for Oral Reading work?

The oral reading framework was developed as a tool to offer a more complete picture of students’ literacy skills than reading comprehension scores alone can provide. For years, the Lexile® Framework for Reading has been used to measure student growth and predict future success. Similar to the reading framework, the oral reading framework measures both students’ oral reading ability and the oral readability of text on the same Lexile scale to ensure accurate, objective reporting. Alistair explains how our oral reading framework evaluates student's oral reading ability and provides insights beyond traditional metrics like words correct per minute (WCPM).

What are the benefits of using the Lexile Framework for Oral Reading?

Alistair delves into the benefits of the oral reading framework including broader insights into a student's literacy, a consistent and objective way to evaluate oral reading ability, and the additional diagnostic feedback you'll gain.

How do accents affect the scoring of a student's oral reading ability?

When we analyze students’ speech with the matched text that is being read aloud, it’s not the same as pure speech recognition where software is attempting to recognize random strings of words. With matched texts, the accuracy of the speech recognizers is much higher and very forgiving of different accents and speech styles. At MetaMetrics, we are partnering with Carnegie Speech, which has developed its model based on a wide range of learners’ accents. Alistair expands on why accents do not have an impact on the scoring of a student's oral reading ability.

Can the Lexile Framework for Oral Reading be used with EFL/ELL students?

Yes, our oral reading framework can be used with English language learners. Alistair explains how it provides insight into ELL students' oral reading abilities, ensures no bias in speech recognition engines and will eventually provide feedback on students' pronunciation.

How does oral reading relate to grade level?

When learning to read, students start with foundational reading skills such as phonemics, phonics and word recognition. The early elementary years are a key time as students transition from foundational reading skills to reading and understanding. This transition period is where assessing oral reading has the most predictive power. Alistair discusses this critical window for oral reading development.

How does oral reading relate to reading comprehension?

Oral reading is a prerequisite to comprehension. If a student is able to read fluently, they can focus their cognitive resources toward comprehension. Alistair explores how oral reading is a strong predictor of silent reading ability.

How does the Lexile Oral Readability Analyzer work?

Our Oral Readability Analyzer evaluates how difficult a text is to read aloud. The Analyzer integrates with our partner's systems. Partners send students' audio and text files via API. The Analyzer then conducts the speech to text and analysis. It provides Lexile oral readability measures for text via API. Alistair walks you through the process of how our Oral Reading Analyzer could work within your product.