This Common Core Standards for the English Language Arts (CCSS) report provide explicit guidelines matching grade-level bands (e.g., 2–3, 4–5) with targeted text complexity levels. In this article, the researchers examine the theoretical and empirical support for three assumptions that underlie the acceleration of text complexity in Grades 2–3. Then we identify patterns in American reading achievement and instruction to illustrate the potential and far-reaching consequences of an increase in the first step of the CCSS staircase.
· - Text complexity has decreased over the past 50 years—but at the middle and high school levels, not in the primary grades.
· - There's nothing in the research that supports the connection between 2nd and 3rd grade text levels and students' future performance in reading texts at the college and career levels.
· - Although the Lexile framework in this staircase is described as an "equal interval scale," it's really not very equal. The yearly reading growth expected in grades K–5 averages 163 Lexiles, whereas the average growth in grades 6–12 is 53 Lexiles.
Hiebert, E. H., & Mesmer, H. A. (2013). Upping the ante of text complexity in the common core state standards: Examining its potential impact on young readers. Educational Researcher, 42(1), 44-51. https://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0013189X12459802