Comparing Lexile and DRA Levels

Understanding the difference between Lexile & DRA Levels

There are a variety of tests that can be done with students to determine their reading level, one of which is a Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). If you are an educator or parent dealing with a reader that has been assigned a DRA level, and are looking to move them into the Lexile® Framework for Reading, then it is ideal to understand both.

The DRA test is usually done annually or semi-annually and is an intensive test that measures nine categories of reading behavior, as well as the main types of reading errors. The system itself was developed in the 1980s, with revisions done in the early 2000s, and measures several skill sets. The tests are focused on phonetic awareness, alphabetic principle/phonics and fluency.

Once completed, tests are evaluated and scored, with grading in numeric for children reading independently and alphanumeric for very early readers – ranging from A1 up to 80.

The Lexile system offers more regular assessment of a student’s reading ability, and allows you to track their improvement as they read. The grading is different, but you can accurately correlate a student’s particular level using a conversion chart, such as the one below from Scotland Elementary.

GradesLexile LevelDRA Level

Introducing LightSail as a key component in student literacy development allows for educators to remain updated on student progress, while also offering incredible flexibility for readers. Not only are readers automatically assigned ideal reading material for their particular Lexile level, they also have the opportunity to choose their own books to read, keeping things more personal and interesting as they progress their reading ability.

LightSail Education is a comprehensive Lexile and standards-aligned, literacy platform and digital e-book library.  Including multimodal learning functionality and featuring books* from leading publishers, LightSail holistically assesses and nurtures each student on their reading and writing-to-learn journey, throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

*LightSail offers a 2,000 or a 6,000 title bundle with its student subscriptions. Other titles are available for individual purchase. Request a demo.

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