Thursday, October 29, 2015

Retrieving: The view of Lexiles in 2004

As a follow-up to yesterday's article, I found another by the same author.  This one was published six years later, in 2004.  It is entitled "Lexile Ratings Catch On."  This one consists almost entirely of factual information about MetaMetrics and their system.  It contains no interviews with naysayers, not a hint of the concern from Reid's earlier article.  Either Reid, his publisher, or public opinion seems to have shifted significantly in the interim six years.

The article begins, "Despite some early critics who questioned its growing use, the Lexile Framework for Reading, a reading comprehension program that measures both the difficulty of a text and individual reading ability, is becoming a popular tool for evaluating and teaching reading by educators around the country" (8).

The rest of the article consists mostly of a description of the program, similar to what I saw in the materials published by MetaMetrics.  The only other portion of note is the final paragraph, where Reid writes:
"[Malbert] Smith acknowledged that the Lexile ratings have some critics and are 'not a panacea for reading instruction.  In our missionary zeal, we may have oversold it.  But it's a technology that can assist academics and parents.  It's a tool for educators who understand how to use it'" (8).

Apparently this is Smith's answer to any criticism; the educators who criticize the Lexile system simply don't understand how to use it.

Furthermore, I find it interesting that this article was published on page 8 of Publishers Weekly, whereas the critical article was buried on page 240.  Reid describes MetaMetrics as "a privately held company, and Smith said the firm was profitable" (8).  Whereas publishers were not anxious to work with MetaMetrics six years before, now, it seems, money talks.  Frustrating.

Reid, Calvin.  "Lexile Ratings Catch On."  Publishers Weekly.  6 September 2004.  Vol. 251 Issue 36, p 8.

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