Understanding the Reading Level Assessment (RLA)

Before students take the Imagine Language & Literacy Reading Level Assessment (RLA), we recommend that Administrators and Teachers understand what the Assessment test measures, how the test is structured, and when the test will be administered.

The Reading Level Assessment (RLA)  is an integrated third-party assessment that can be delivered up to three times per year to students in Grades 2 and up and who are reading at an upper Grade 1 level or higher. Students complete the Reading Level Assessment after they have completed the Benchmark test.


Students eligible for the Reading Level Assessment are those who have completed (or tested out of) Book 48 in the Beginning Books curriculum. Students who have previously taken a Reading Level Assessment test are not eligible to take another for at least 90 days.

Once you understand how the Reading Level Assessment works and what the test window spacing requirements are, you can check your students' testing status as they complete the assessment. If you are a District or School Administrator, you can change the test enablement settings for the Reading Level Assessment during any Test Window.

When the Reading Level Assessment is administered

The Reading Level Assessment is administered during 3 different test windows throughout the school year:

Test Window Assessment Test Window Dates
Test Window 1

Beginning-of-Year Reading Level Assessment

August 1 - October 31
Test Window 2 Middle-of-Year Reading Level Assessment December 1 - February 28
Test Window 3 End-of-Year Reading Level Assessment April 1 - June 30


Enablement/disablement settings for the 2nd and 3rd Benchmark and Reading Level Assessments (RLA) are not editable until the end of the previous testing window.


Administration of the Reading Level Assessment and Benchmark Test may occur in succession. For instance, if students are taking the Benchmark Test and the Reading Level Assessment becomes available, they will finish the Benchmark Test and then begin the Reading Level Assessment. If a site is using both assessments and the potential for testing fatigue due to successive administration is of concern, administrators can delay the enabling of the Reading Level Assessment so that a period of time will pass between the administrations of the Benchmark Test and the Reading Level Assessment.

What the Reading Level Assessment measures

The results from each administration provide a point-in-time estimate of a student’s reading level on the Lexile scale. Initial administration results also serve as a baseline against which results from subsequent administrations are compared. Differences in performance across administrations provide estimations of the degree of change in student reading levels.

How the Reading Level Assessment is structured

There are two test levels—one for grades 2–3 and another for grades 4–6, with three forms per level. Students receive the test level appropriate for their reading level. Form 1, 2, or 3 is delivered within each administration window. For both levels of the assessment, the difficulty increases from Form 1 to Form 3. Form 1 of each test is easier than Form 2 of the same test, and Form 2 is easier than Form 3. Each form has 32 multiple-choice items—approximately 50 percent addressing literary content and 50 percent addressing informational content. Assessments generally take 1 - 2 sessions and must be completed within 28 days once started. 

Testing  Forms 
Grades 2-3 Form 1 (easiest) Form 2 (more difficult) Form 3 (most difficult)
Grades 4-6 Form 1 (easiest) Form 2 (more difficult) Form 3 (most difficult)