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ERIC Number: ED528970
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 51
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
How Prepared Are Subgroups of Texas Students for College-Level Reading: Applying a Lexile[R]-Based Approach. REL Technical Brief. REL 2012-No. 018
Wilkins, Chuck; Rolfhus, Eric; Hartman, Jenifer; Brasiel, Sarah; Brite, Jessica; Howland, Noelle
Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (NJ1)
Many students graduate from high school unprepared for the rigorous reading required in entry-level college and career work. This brief builds on a recent report (Wilkins et al. 2010) that used the Lexile measure (a method for measuring the reading difficulty of prose text and the reading capability of individuals) to estimate the proportion of Texas grade 11 public school students in 2009 ready for entry-level college reading in English. The previous study examined the overall grade 11 Texas student population; this brief uses the same methodology to present similar readiness estimates for student subgroups as defined by 10 characteristics that Texas uses for its state accountability system. An Excel[R] tool was created to enable school administrators to more easily compare the preparation of grade 11 students to read entry-level English textbooks from University of Texas (UT) system schools with that of students overall or selected subgroups of students statewide. Using a linguistic theory-based method for measuring reading difficulty (the Lexile[R] Framework for Reading), this study assessed reading readiness for subgroups of grade 11 students who took the annual Texas state assessment. It describes the percentage of students who were prepared to read and comprehend entry-level college English textbooks. The study addressed the following questions: (1) How prepared are grade 11 Texas students to read and comprehend textbooks used in entry-level college English courses in the UT system as measured by the Lexile[R] Framework for Reading?; and (2) How does preparedness vary by student subgroup? Results are provided for subgroups defined by 10 characteristics. These subgroups are the reporting categories in the Academic Excellence Indicator System, the system that Texas uses to evaluate its K-12 schools and districts for state and federal accountability reporting: (1) Gender; (2) Race/ethnicity; (3) Economically disadvantaged status; (4) At-risk status; (5) Limited English proficiency status; (6) English as a second language status; (7) Gifted and talented education status; (8) Career and technical education status; (9) Special education status; and (10) Version of the grade 11 TAKS or TAKS-Accommodated. Across subgroups, gifted and talented (GT) students were the most prepared for college-level reading, followed by Asian and White students. Within specific sets of subgroup comparisons, results for very well prepared (able to read 95-100 percent of entry-level college English textbooks) students showed that: (1) Female students (55 percent) were more prepared than male students (46 percent); (2) Asian (69 percent), White (64 percent), and American Indian (56 percent) students were more prepared than Hispanic (40 percent) and Black (37 percent) students; (3) Economically disadvantaged (37 percent) students were less prepared than those who were not economically disadvantaged (62 percent); (4) At-risk (28 percent) students were less prepared than those who were not at-risk (74 percent); (5) Limited English proficient (LEP) students (5 percent) were less prepared than those who were not LEP (54 percent); (6) English as a second language (ESL) students (4 percent) were less prepared than those who were not ESL (53 percent); (7) Students receiving GT services (88 percent) were more prepared than students not receiving GT services (47 percent); (8) Students taking at least one career and technical education course (49 percent) were slightly less prepared than those not taking such a course (56 percent); and (9) Students receiving special education services (9 percent) were less prepared than those who were not receiving such services (54 percent). This report includes a link to an online Excel[R] tool that can be downloaded to compare the college reading readiness levels of local students with the statewide normative results over-all and for each subgroup. The tool can be used compare the reading preparedness of any of the subgroups examined in this study. The main report provides examples illustrating how a district can use these comparisons. Appended are: (1) Sample text accompanied by estimated Lexile values derived using the Lexile[R] Framework for Reading; (2) Description of grade 11 exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for English language arts and reading; (3) Subgroup descriptions; (4) Textbooks used by the University of Texas system schools; (5) The University of Texas system schools; (6) Data and methodology; (7) Subgroup analysis following Wilkins et al. (2010); (8) Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scaled score-Lexile measure conversions from Wilkins et al. (2010). (Contains 19 tables, 14 figures and 23 notes.
Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest. Available from: Edvance Research. 9901 IH-10 West Suite 700, San Antonio, TX 78230. Tel: 877-338-2623; Fax: 210-558-4183; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 11; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Academic Excellence Indicator System
IES Funded: Yes