New Lexile Framework for Oral Reading to Provide Powerful Insight to Teachers Addressing Reading Crisis and COVID-19 Disruptions

New Lexile Framework for Oral Reading to Provide Powerful Insight to Teachers Addressing Reading Crisis and COVID-19 Disruptions

Starting this month, educators assessing early readers with NWEA’s MAP® Reading Fluency™ will see a new oral reading measure that helps educators better understand and support early readers.


Portland, Ore. – July 16, 2020 – NWEA, a not-for-profit assessment provider,  announced today that its award-winning early reading assessment – MAP® Reading Fluency™ – will now include measures from the innovative new Lexile® Framework for Oral Reading. Developed by MetaMetrics®, the new framework provides a powerful data point for educators moving the needle in student literacy.

The Lexile Framework for Oral Reading measures both student oral reading ability and how difficult a piece of text is to read aloud on the same scale. To do this, the Lexile Framework for Oral Reading evaluates the oral readability of the text and students’ oral reading performance to calculate their oral reading measure. Educators will not only better understand the oral reading ability of their students but have insight into the level of text that a student can access and decode independently.

“This new measure couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said Chris Minnich, CEO of NWEA. “Educators are facing a back-to-school like no other this fall and they deserve powerful data that will inform how to help mitigate potential impacts of the COVID-19 school disruptions while helping them battle a national reading crisis.”

The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card indicates only 35% of fourth-graders are proficient in reading. According to research, reading at grade-level by third grade is an important predictor of future academic success for students stating that those who are not are four times less likely to graduate from high school. Now combine a national reading crisis with a pandemic that has disrupted school this spring for 55+ million students. Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruptions on learning in reading is critical – especially at the younger grades when students are building their foundations of literacy.

“When we looked at MAP Growth summer learning loss data from 2017-18, we estimated that in grades K – 2, students could lose between 4 to 25% of their math and reading gains from the 2019-20 school year on average; however, it is possible that some students may even make gains in reading,” said Dr. Megan Kuhfeld, senior research scientist at NWEA and noted expert in seasonal learning patterns and summer loss.

This means educators will be facing greater variances in student reading skills come this fall and will need an efficient, precise way to assess student reading ability in order to set meaningful goals and target instruction that engages and challenges every child toward academic growth.

“Strong oral reading skills are a predictor of building silent reading comprehension skills. Through our collaboration with NWEA, teachers will now have powerful measures to assess their students’ oral reading abilities, particularly at this critical time when they need information to determine what kind of support may be needed to keep them on the path to success,” said Alistair Van Moere, Ph.D., MetaMetrics’ chief product officer.

Given the pandemic combined with the urgency around an already present reading crisis, now more than ever educators need innovative assessments that save them time and introduce better ways to assess early literacy and oral reading. With NWEA’s MAP Reading Fluency, a teacher can evaluate an entire class in about 20 minutes versus other assessments that require a teacher to assess each student 1:1, making it a significant time investment to complete. Once a class is assessed using MAP Reading Fluency, a teacher receives reports almost immediately that provide valuable data allowing them to differentiate instruction to meet the reading needs of every child. Now with the new Lexile oral reading measure incorporated into reports, a teacher will have an even more complete picture of student literacy.

“We are extending the widely adopted Lexile Framework for Reading across the literacy construct to provide teachers with broader insights for targeting reading instruction. Faced with the challenges of getting students back on track after the disruptions last spring, this will be particularly crucial this fall,” said Malbert Smith, CEO, president and co-founder of MetaMetrics. “The new Lexile Framework for Oral Reading provides a picture of students’ oral reading abilities because it takes into account both their oral reading fluency level and the readability of the text.”

The new Lexile Framework for Oral Reading will be exclusively part of MAP Reading Fluency reporting starting this month. Schools that use this assessment will see the new measure as part of their regular classroom and individual student reports.

About NWEA

NWEA® is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our progress monitoring and skills mastery tool, MAP® Skills™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our new assessment solution that combines growth and proficiency measurement. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

About MetaMetrics

MetaMetrics is an award-winning education technology organization that offers the only scientifically valid, universal scales for measuring silent and oral reading and listening (Lexile) and math (Quantile) with plans to develop measures for writing. The Lexile and Quantile Frameworks measure student ability and the complexity of the content they encounter. Lexile and Quantile measures and related technologies link assessment to instruction and provide next steps for students of all ages and abilities. The measures also provide valuable insights about students’ potential for growth. MetaMetrics’ measures, products and services are licensed to dozens of education product companies to help achieve that growth. For 35 years, MetaMetrics’ work has been increasingly recognized for its research-based approach to improving learning. For more information, visit

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations at NWEA, or 971.361.9526