Friday, January 2, 2009

What is Grade Level Equivalency?

You may have heard teachers and publishers refer to Grade Level Equivalency (GLE) in context of leveled readers and assessments. Care should be taken to interpret these scores accurately. Something that is important to recognize is that the intended use and definition of GLE is not to prescribe at which grade level students can perform. For example, a sixth grade student's performance at an 8.1 grade level does not necessarily mean that the student is performing at the eighth-grade level. Rather, it signifies that an eighth-grader would score the same as the sixth-grade student had this eighth-grade student taken the sixth-grade test. (Visit this link to learn more.)

There are a variety of measurements used to obtain GLE scores, but it is important to note that each tool provides different GLE scores. To see an example of this in action, visit the StoryToolz website. (See also these online resources: Tests Document Readability and Improve It and Edit Central.) Paste some text into the text box and click "Check Readability." You'll see several different GLE scores appear, as well as an average of the scores. Notice the wide range of scores based on the different tools used.

The solution? Learn the purpose and function of each tool and how each score is derived to decide which tool best meets your objectives. Or, use the average score of the combined tools. Whatever option you choose, just be consistent.

(See also my post on Lexile measures here.)

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