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Posted : 2013-05-29 17:46
Updated : 2013-05-29 17:46

Developing genuine love of reading

A Lexile reading measure, devised by MetaMetrics, a U.S. educational measurement and research institute, shows students' reading ability and the difficulty of a text. The two measures, which show a reading ability and text difficulty level match at 940L in the picture, offer the adequate amount of challenge to keep learners interested in reading and developing English skills. / Courtesy of MetaMetrics


MetaMetrics helps learners effectively improve English proficiency



Todd Sanvik, Senior Vice President of MetaMetrics
By Bahk Eun-ji

Korean schools will have a new tool to help students read. Through a new measurement system, teachers can match a student's reading ability with appropriate books.

MetaMetrics, a U.S.-based educational measurement and research institute, developed Lexile Measures, a system that's currently used by more than 30 million students in all 50 states.

During his visit last week, MetaMetrics Senior Vice President Todd Sandvik announced the company's partnership with a Korean educational company, Chambit Edu, to implement the measurement system in Korean schools.

"When you have positive reading experiences, you gain confidence and are rewarded with success. This helps you to stay motivated, and reading should be fun," Sandvik said.

Sandvik says his company wants to help students develop a genuine love of reading and believes Lexile Measures helps accomplish this.

The measurement not only finds the right books for a student by matching texts to reading ability, it also improves reading skills by selecting challenging books for the student to read.

Lexile Measures can also convert a score from a certified English language test, like the TOEFL, to a reading score.

Sandvik says the system will also help Korean students improve their English skills.

He compared reading to weight lifting.

"If you try to lift too much weight, you will struggle and become frustrated. You also won't be able to lift very long, if at all; thus you won't gain any benefits," he said.

"Similarly, if you lift too little, you may get a lot of repetitions, but your muscles won't be challenged. You won't improve your strength very much," he added.

Sandvik says the right amount of challenge will help students improve their skills without frustration.

He said Lexile Measures enable students, teachers and parents to use test results to find appropriate materials for continued practice .



The following are questions and answers during the interview with Sandvik:



Q: Could you specify the reason why Lexile Measures are needed in Korea?

A: Lexile Measures offer a valuable, easy-to-use tool to find reading materials that match one's reading ability. This kind of "targeted" practice is the best way to improve one's skill efficiently. Because English is a second language, it can be very difficult to find this kind of information on one's own. We try to make it easy to find and widely available.

Furthermore, the Lexile scale can be useful to track progress toward university and career readiness. Through our extensive research into the difficulty of common reading materials found in common, authentic reading environments (such as university textbooks), we can help learners better understand long-term goals and prepare for their success. This can start at a very early age and be monitored with a consistent perspective over time.



Q: How and why did MetaMetrics start and invent Lexile Measures in the U.S.?

A: MetaMetrics was founded in 1984 with support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Our founders were frustrated that test results didn't provide information that was useful to students, teachers and parents in their daily efforts.

Furthermore, there was no easy way to compare different test results, or to understand test results in meaningful terms. This led to the development of Lexile Measures.

Lexile Measures enable students, teachers and parents to use reading test results to find appropriate materials for continued practice.

Further, Lexile Measures help connect other tests so that a common perspective on growth and improvement can be maintained over the lifetime of the learner. Because they are an objective ― or scientific ― way to measure reading, their value is widely useful in researching and developing interesting new educational technology.



Q: Why is finding the right book for children important?

A: When a child is given a book that is too difficult, they can become frustrated and lose motivation. Furthermore, they are probably not benefiting much from their effort. Reading, like any skill, requires quality practice over time to improve. Getting the right level of challenge is key to improving efficiently.

If you try to lift too much weight, you will struggle and become frustrated. You also won't be able to lift very long, if at all; thus you won't gain any benefits. Similarly, if you lift too little, you may get a lot of repetitions, but your muscles won't be challenged. You won't improve your strength very much.

It is the same with reading. When you read a book that matches your skill closely, you get just the right amount of challenge. This helps you improve much more efficiently without excess frustration.

When you have positive reading experiences, you gain confidence and are rewarded with success. This helps you to stay motivated, and reading should be fun. We want to help learners develop a genuine love of reading that will enrich their lives.



Q: Why do you think that Lexile Measures have credibility in the U.S and Korea?

A: Through nearly 30 years of research, in a wide variety of settings, Lexile Measures have been shown to be an accurate and reliable way to measure reading. We have developed prestigious relationships with governments, prestigious research organizations and industry-leading companies because we offer versatile tools and supportive research that help address the most compelling challenges and opportunities in education.



Q: Why did MetaMetrics select Korea as the next target market in East Asia?

A: We were attracted initially to Korea because of the great value it places on education and learning, as well as its strong traditions that Korea has teaching.

Korea represents a model of success in terms of the many benefits that a highly educated population brings to a society. Korea is also doing very innovative things in technology that are helping to shape the future of education.

We are trying to bring some of the best and most current thought leadership, research and technology from the U.S. together with the best and brightest ideas from education leaders in Korea.

We have an enabling technology that can help these individuals, organizations and companies enhance their work in significant ways. But also, it is a two-way street. We believe that there is a lot that we can learn from our work in Korea and take back to the U.S.

In fact, one of our co-founders, Dr. Malbert Smith, recently gave the commencement address to the School of Education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. During that address, he commented on his experiences in Korea and the great example it serves in education.


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