Understanding the Reading Level Assessment (RLA) in Imagine Language & Literacy


This article does not apply to students taking the Galileo ELA Benchmark or the NWEA™ MAP® Growth Assessment. It only applies to organizations who have chosen the default embedded Benchmarks as their placement/assessment method in Imagine Language & Literacy. 

The Reading Level Assessment (RLA) is an optional third-party assessment integrated into Imagine Language & Literacy that provides qualifying students' Lexile® measure up to three times per year. It is disabled by default but can be enabled by a School Administrator or District Administrator

What does the Reading Level Assessment measure?

The results from each administration provide a point-in-time estimate of a student’s reading level on the Lexile® scale. The initial results also serve as a baseline against which results from subsequent assessments are compared. This allows Administrators and Teachers to identify growth in students' reading ability over time. Knowing a student's Lexile measure also helps you identify appropriate reading material for your students.


In the Growth section of the educator portal, students' Lexile measures display in the column for each testing window. Once students have taken more than one RLA, growth calculates and displays in the YTD column. The left side of the report indicates if students are reading above grade level, on grade level, 1 grade below grade level, or 2 or more grade levels below, in accordance with the color-coded legend at the top of the page. 

Which students take the Reading Level Assessment?

Not all students take the RLA even if it is enabled for their school or district. To qualify for the RLA, students must meet both of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be in Grade 2 or higher
  • Be reading at an upper Grade 1 level or higher. In other words, they must have completed or tested out of Book 48, which is the last Primary Decodable Book in the Imagine Language & Literacy curriculum.

You do not need to keep track of which students are eligible and which are not. As long as your school or district administrator has enabled the RLA, the program determines which students meet the criteria and then automatically delivers the RLA to eligible students after they complete their Placement or Benchmark assessment.

When is the Reading Level Assessment administered?

The Reading Level Assessment can be administered during 3 different test windows throughout the school year. Each test window must be enabled separately. This can be done at the beginning of the school year for all three windows, or you can wait and enable them one-by-one throughout the year.

Assessment Test Window Dates Default status

Beginning-of-Year Reading Level Assessment

August 1 - October 31 Disabled
Middle-of-Year Reading Level Assessment December 1 - February 28 Disabled
End-of-Year Reading Level Assessment April 1 - June 30 Disabled


If the potential for testing fatigue from both the Benchmark and the Reading Level Assessment is a concern, you can wait to enable the RLA so that a period of time (a week or two, for example) passes between the two assessments. To do so, ask your administrator to wait until most students at your school have completed the Benchmark before enabling the RLA.

You should plan on at least 35 minutes to administer the Reading Level Assessment. The Reading Level Assessment is designed to assess the reading ability in students Grades 2–6, therefore students may take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes to complete the test, depending on their skill level. Assessments can be broken up over multiple testing sessions.   

As students begin the assessment, you can check their completion status and interpret their scores.


The Lexile measure provided by the RLA is used to identify students' current reading level. It does not determine or alter the subsequent Imagine Language & Literacy activities that students receive.

How is the Reading Level Assessment 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 (not necessarily their rostered grade level). Students begin with Form 1, then they move to Form 2 and then Form 3. 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 to 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)