quiz

"Twilight" More Difficult Than Hemingway, According To Teacher’s Guide

QUIZ: which of these books is considered more “complex” according to Lexile guidelines?

Can you guess which of these books are more ‘difficult’ according to Common Core (a teaching initiative adopted by 45 states)?

  1. 1. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks
    2. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
  2. 2. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
    2. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
  3. 3. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
    2. “Eyewitness Books: HORSE”
  4. 4. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut
    2. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
  5. 5. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “Twilight: The Complete Movie Illustrated Companion”
    2. “The Crying of Lot 49” by Thomas Pynchon
  6. 6. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “The Prince” by Machiavelli
    2. “Guiness World Records 2011”
  7. 7. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?
    1. “The Birth of the Clinic” by Michel Foucault
    2. “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Arguing that teachers aren’t assigning grade-appropriate reading, Common Core recommends that students get matched up with books with the right “Lexile” score. The thing is, Lexiles measure a book’s complexity by a painfully literal algorithm of sentence length, word choice, and syntax.

To be fair, it’s only meant to be a rough guideline rather than some iron-clad dictum or curriculum. And any teacher knows that a work can have a low Lexile difficulty while being thematically unsuitable for younger readers. But still.

The New Republic created a handy graph of some of these Lexiles, in case you want further proof of its absurdity.

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