Fortunately, getting it right isn't a "once and done" decision, but rather a process of continuous evaluation based on solid research principles and data.
So how do we place students in BrightFish Reading?
BrightFish Reading uses certified Lexile® measures for text complexity to assign stories to grade levels. The Lexile framework has established Common Core stretch bands that cover multiple grades, and we’ve leveled our stories to fit within that research-based framework.
Lexile measures give us a standard mechanism to determine text complexity and communicate the level of challenge that a student may have with text at a given level.
Since our Cloze pre- and post-test passages are assigned by Lexile level, we know that the text will present a documented level of challenge for a given grade level. Based on the score from a Cloze Test passage activity, we can see where students fall in the reading comprehension “zones” for the tested level: frustration, instructional or independent (these zones are established by research and validated over 20 years of testing with broad student populations).
Is that the whole story?
BrightFish Reading uses a text deconstruction process to break down text, so students are able to work at a higher Lexile complexity level than may otherwise be possible. As such, we use a student’s grade level, 3rd party or state assessment data, and our Cloze pre-test scores to inform decisions on where to place students, but we typically go no further than two grade levels below the current grade band to ensure that students get structured practice with the appropriate rigor. For example, if a student is in 9th grade and scores 20 percent on the Cloze for grade 9 (frustration zone), we would start by placing the student in a 7-8 stream and monitor the training progress.