Questar’s Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) Recommended as Highly Effective Text Complexity Tool by New Common Core Standards Study

Questar Assessment, Inc., a leading educational assessment provider for states, school districts, and higher education institutions, announced that its Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) text analysis tool has been confirmed by independent research as a highly reliable quantitative measure of text complexity – one of the cornerstones of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in ELA/Literacy.

The results of the research study, “Measures of Text Difficulty,” led by Jessica Nelson of Carnegie Mellon University, Charles Perfetti of the University of Pittsburgh, and David Liben and Meredith Liben of Student Achievement Partners, were published last week as a supplement to Appendix A of the CCSS. According to the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, who released the supplement and its underlying research, the DRP scale climbs “reliably … up the text-complexity ladder to college and career readiness.”

The importance of text complexity has come to the forefront as the CCSS are increasing expectations for students’ reading to achieve college and career readiness. Students are expected to read text that is more and more challenging throughout their school years closing the gap that exists currently between the texts they experience in high school and the reading demands they’ll face in college and the workplace. Increasingly, educators are looking for tools to quickly determine a text’s complexity and match students with appropriate readings.

The DRP Program, with its unique methodology for combining a reading assessment with a text analysis tool, has been effectively matching students with reading materials of appropriate difficulty for over 35 years. “The evidence-based Degrees of Reading Power Program continues to provide one of the truest measures of students’ reading comprehension, as well as text complexity, available today,” said Roy Lipner, Questar President and Chief Executive Officer.

Originally developed through collaboration with the New York Board of Regents, the Carnegie Corporation and the College Board, the DRP Program offered the first (and still provides the only) criterion-referenced reading test specifically designed to place students and texts on the same scale. Students’ performance on DRP comprehension tests is directly linked to the difficulty, or readability, of the text they can read. As such, DRP tests are used to set literacy goals, identify student reading ability, monitor progress, link students to appropriate reading material, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and predict high-stakes state test results. The DRP Program has long been a successful component of state department, local district, and school improvement programs across the country. The new, independent research reaffirms that the DRP Program offers a valuable “scale by which to rate text complexity over a student’s career, culminating in levels that match college and career readiness.”

DRP Text Analyzer tool now available for instant analysis of text complexity
The DRP Analyzer – the text complexity measurement tool validated by the authors of the Common Core State Standards – is now available online for educators to quickly and easily submit text samples to determine the quantitative text complexity of the materials they use in the classroom. Analysis results are provided on both the DRP scale and the Common Core Grade Bands. The readability formula uses three measurable features of text: word length, sentence length, and word familiarity. The supplement to CCSS Appendix A recommends that teachers use a quantitative tool such as the DRP Analyzer to find the grade band for a text, and then move on to “qualitative” and “reader task” sorts of judgments to further define grade appropriateness for instruction.

About Questar Assessment, Inc.
Questar Assessment, Inc. is a leading educational assessment provider for states, schools, and school districts. Headquartered in Minnesota and New York, Questar offers comprehensive custom assessment services—from large-scale statewide assessment programs to alternate, modified, and English language proficiency assessments. Questar provides complete, end-to-end services designed to address all aspects of assessment from test design, development, calibration, and psychometric services to print production, distribution, scanning, scoring, reporting, and data analysis. Questar also offers customized online testing services to schools and educational entities in the K–12 market. For further information, visit or call 800-800-2598.

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