• Text Complexity

    Rather than focusing exclusively on literacy skills, college- and career-ready standards, including the Common Core, set expectations for the complexity of texts students need to be able to read.  This collection includes tools to help with each step and research to support teachers' understanding of text complexity.  To plan a close-reading lesson with text complexity in mind, use the Lesson Planning Tool.

  • Selecting Grade Level Text

    To choose texts that are on grade level for the CCSS and other college- and career-ready standards, use three steps:

    1. Use quantitative measures to assign a text to a grade band.
    2. Use qualitative measures to locate a text within a specific grade band.
    3. Use professional judgment to decide how suited a text is for a specific instructional purpose with a particular set of students.

  • Quantitative Tools

    Quantitative Tools to Measure Text Complexity: To decide if a text is on grade level for college- and career-ready standards, including the Common Core, start here. These tools quickly identify the grade band for a text.

    • Finding College- and Career-Ready Grade Levels for Texts: Quick Reference Chart

      Quick reference chart for converting leveling systems such as Lexile and Flesch-Kincaid into CCR grade bands.

    • Finding College- and Career-Ready Grade Levels for Texts: Guide to Online Tools

      Step-by-step guide to accessing free, online tools that help identify the appropriate grade band for a text.

  • Qualitative Tools

    Qualitative Tools to Measure Text Complexity: After identifying the grade band for a text, use these tools to determine its specific grade level and what features will make it challenging for students.

    • SCASS Rubric

      SCASS Rubric for Informational Text

      SCASS Rubric for Literature

      Qualitative Dimensions of Text Complexity Chart: Scales for evaluating the qualitative features of text complexity:

      • Text structure
      • Language clarity and conventions
      • Knowledge demands
      • Levels of meaning/purpose
    • Qualitative Scale for Text Complexity

      Grades 2-3

      Grade 4-5

      Grade 6-8

      Grade 9-10

      Grade 11-CCR

      Sample Qualitative Scale

      Example of completed qualitative scale for the 9-10 band.

      Companion to Qualitative Scales

      Detailed explanation of qualitative features; to be consulted in filling out the qualitative scale.

  • Analysis of Text for Complexity

    These tools help teachers use analysis of text complexity to guide their lesson planning.

    • What Makes This Text Complex

      Use this guide to support the analysis of a text for complexity.

      Read Aloud for Grades K-2

      Grades 2-12

  • Professional Development

    Complete the activity for Core Action 1 to learn more about Text Complexity.

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