Lexile went down during the school year, what should I do?

I had the majority of my students go down in their Lexiles from Sept to Dec. Why is this? What should I do? Is there something I am missing? How often can students take the SRI test? Finally, if a student tested out of System 44 on their SRI do they still need to finish the program?

Thank you for your help!

By ZiggyND
Posted on: December 10 2010
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    I had that happen to some of my students...some by 20 points and others even more.  When I asked my field representative about that, he said that it's nothing to be concerned about because the SRI test is a little harder the second time they take it. I'm not sure how much I believe that though. Has anyone else seen this same issue?


    Yes, this happens from time to time.  There are many reasons why this can happen.  If you do ever decide to re-test a student, please remember to delete the "bad" score before you test the student again.  The time between tests is part of the algorithm for determining the SRI.  If you do not delete the "bad" score, then the computer thinks it already knows the student's score.  Deleting a "bad" score should be a very infrequent event.

    I, too, have seen this happen.  It is frustrating, to say the least.  When I talk to the student about it they sometimes say they did not try, other times they do not understand it either.  I just make sure they keep working with the program and hope the next test goes better.  I did have one girl who was very upset about her lower score.  

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    We found that the best solution for this is to test students one-on-one.  I know this isn't ideal for most circumstances, but the very first time we regave the SRI we had students who were going down 200+ points!  We deleted their low scores and then pulled them individually (6 at a time with 6 adults) and gave them a pep talk and informed them that we would be reading along with them.  It was amazing how much of an improvement we had!  I would say that 95% of students increased their scores.  When we did it whole group, more than 50% of scores went down!  I think it's an accountability piece and not worrying about who gets finished first, etc. 

    Hot cheetohs are, by far, the most popular "reward" in our school.  I even think I could say the whole district would agree.  We have been told that we are not supposed to have any food that the cafeteria does not sell-so thank goodness they sell the hot cheetohs! 

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    The day before the second SRI, I ask students what reward they want if their score increases. Of course, I rule out the wild ideas like two class periods of free time. This time some students wanted flaming hot cheetos (.33 each). With others I agreed to 20 minutes of free time on the computer (approved websites only like coolmath.com or freerice.com) or a one time deal to be able to listen to their ipod during silent reading. I also offer a reward if the whole class increases. Since I'm testing in my room, I need everyone to be silent during the testing. I believe that if I can get them to focus, they will do well. Offering the reward is the incentive to help them focus. Not everybody increased but 90 percent of my students did have increases. Several exceeded the goal growth of 75 to 100 points per year for Stage B. Then, I gave 6 Rock bucks to the top 3 students who increased the most and made a big deal about it. I do not say the score only the point increase. (This student went up 137 points!!!) My school encourages good behavior by handing out Rock Bucks. Students can turn in the rock bucks for slushies, ice cream and stuff like that. You can actually remove an SRI score in grading tools and have them retest. I only do this occassionally if I feel like they were really off that day.  In our district, we test 4 times a year (Beginning of the year, Dec. 1st, Feb. 23, and end of year). Also, I have a very few students who are reading on grade level so I don't fret if their score goes down a little.

    All but four of my students went down between October and December.  Some went down as much as 200 points!  What does this mean? 


    The margin of error for the students' first SRI is pretty big.  All of their tests after that have a much smaller margin of error.  I find that sometimes I have to take that first score with a grain of salt.  I think the margin of error is something like plus or minus 100 lexile points.  That's a pretty significant range!  If my students' scores go down between tests, I let them know that the lexile levels the SRI gives you are not EXACT...it doesn't mean they're not doing well or that they have failed in some way.  I don't want them to get discouraged.


    A 200+ Lexile drop is outside the Standard Error of Measure.  It usually means that students did not take the testing seriously on that second test.   I don't think that kind of a drop helps inform instruction at all so I will talk to a student who drops 100 or more Lexiles to see what happened.  Frequently, the student did not take the tst seriously or had another intervening factor.  I have delted that "bad" score and had the student re-test to get a more usable Lexile. I have noticed that some students do not understand why the passages are harder on this second test.  They will be more difficult for them because the student has placed them closer to their actual Lexile, and they won't have as many of the "easy" passages like they had on the first test. As faras Standard Error of Measure isconcerned, the SEM is around 50L on the first test and decreases after that--as long as you set the Estimated Reading Level for each student prior to that first test.  (It doesn't help to set it after they have taken the first test.)  If you do not set theEstimated Reading Level for that first test, the SEM can be around 100L.  If you will email me directly at askdee@sbcglobal.net, I will be gald to send you an electronic version of the Best Practices booklet for the SRI. Dee Ask Dee at the READ 180 Community  

    I have heard that the margin of error is + or - 50 points.  That is a ONE HUNDRED point spread.

    Thank you everyone for the advice. I had 2 kids retest today and they both went up!! One went up 150 points and the other 97!! I am so happy that they made that leap. They were also very proud of themselves. I look forward to seeing how my other students did. I decided to use bribery :) One of the suggested things they wanted was a book from Scholastic! (every teacher's dream  to hear haha) We also talked about taking our time, and some of the students are going to test after school where they don't feel the peer pressure to finish in a certain amount of time or before the period ends. They really liked this idea as well. Good luck to everyone!!


    Great to hear of the improvements!  I think when the class sees that others can show good growth, a good competition starts.  In my class it has made a huge difference in the effort levels!!!  Congrats, again and keep up the impressive growth! 


    Don't forget that your students can "pause" in the middle of the test.  If they need a break in the test, they can hit the Escape key, save the test where they left off, and then complete the test later.

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