Text Complexity - Research Articles

Does One Size Fit All?: Exploring the Contribution of Text Features, Content, and Grade of Use on Comprehension

Readability systems have once more become prominent in policy and practice because of recommendations in the Common Core State Standards. This study revisited two features of current readability systems: their generalizability to all grade levels and to all content areas.

Mesmer, H. A., Hiebert, E. H., Cunningham, J. W., & Kapania, M. (2020). Does one size fit all? Exploring the contribution of text features, content, and grade of use on comprehension. Reading Psychology.

Investigating the Validity of Two Widely Used Quantitative Text Tools

In recent years, readability formulas have gained new prominence as a basis for selecting texts for learning and assessment. Variables that quantitative tools count (e.g., word frequency, sentence length) provide valid measures of text complexity insofar as they accurately predict representative and high-quality criteria. 

Cunningham, J.W., Hiebert, E.H., & Mesmer, H.A., (2018). Investigating the validity of two widely used quantitative text tools. Reading and Writing, 31(4), p 813-833. 

The Texts of Literacy Instruction: Obstacles to or Opportunities for Educational Equity?

Texts are a central part of reading. Yet our understandings of appropriate text features and distributions of text diets at different points in students’ reading development are limited. The thesis of the essay is that, if the trajectory of struggling readers is to change, attention is needed to the features of texts and students’ text diets, especially those of students who attend schools in heavily impacted communities.

Hiebert, E.H. (2017). The texts of literacy instruction: Obstacles to or opportunities for educational equity?  Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 66(1), 117-134. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2381336917718521

Does Text Complexity Matter in the Elementary Grades? A Research Synthesis of Text Difficulty and Elementary Students’ Reading Fluency and Comprehension

Amendum, S.J., Conradi, K., & Hiebert, E.H. (in press). Does Text Complexity Matter in the Elementary Grades? A Research Synthesis of Text Difficulty and Elementary Students Reading Fluency and Comprehension. Educational Psychology Review.

An Analysis of the Text Complexity of Leveled Passages in Four Popular Classroom Reading Assessments

Toyama, Y., Pearson, P.D., & Hiebert, E.H., (in press). An Analysis of the Text Complexity of Leveled Passages in Four Popular Classroom Reading Assessments. Educational Assessment.

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Examining Three Assumptions About Text Complexity: Standard 10 of the Common Core State Standards

In this chapter, Drs. Hiebert and Van Sluys consider three assumptions about the view of text complexity as operationalized by the CCSS. They are concerned that these assumptions, if left unexamined, could increase the achievement gap, as the standards become part of state and national policies.

Hiebert, E.H., & Van Sluys, K. (2014). Examining three assumptions about text complexity: Standard 10 of the Common Core State Standards. In K.S. Goodman, R.C. Calfee, & Y.M. Goodman (Eds.), Whose knowledge counts in government literacy policies? Why expertise matters (pp. 144-160). New York, NY: Routledge.

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Knowing What's Complex and What's Not: Guidelines for Teachers in Establishing Text Complexity

The Common Core State Standards, for the first time in a standards document, addresses whether students are increasing their ability to read complex texts over their school careers.

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The State of the Field: Qualitative Analyses of Text Complexity: Reading Research Report #13.01

The purpose of this review is to examine the function, logic, and impact of qualitative systems, with a focus on understanding their benefits and imperfections.

Pearson, P.D., & Hiebert, E.H. (2013). The State of the Field: Qualitative Analyses of Text Complexity. (Reading Research Report 13.01). Santa Cruz, CA: TextProject, Inc.

Stretching Elementary Students in Complex Text: Why? How? When?

Mesmer, H.A., (2014). Stretching Elementary Students in Complex Text: Why? How? When? In E.H. Hiebert (Ed.) (March, 2014). Stamina, Silent Reading, & the Common Core State Standards. Santa Cruz, CA: TextProject.