Year Level Equivalent and Reading Age  

Year Level Equivalent and Reading Age scores aim to quantify the difference between a pupil’s reading ability from what is expected, by expressing it in terms of time spent in school (Year Level Equivalence) or by chronological age (Reading Age).

These values are commonly offered by assessment tools, and we also offer them with Lexplore.  

Below we explain each of the scores.  

Year Level Equivalent (YLE)  

The Year Level Equivalent score compares a pupil’s Lexplore Score to what is expected of the average pupil at any time from Year 1 to Year 13. This metric is presented as years and months of schooling. To find out what is expected, we first map out the average pupil’s Lexplore Score for each school month from the beginning of Year 1 to the end of Year 13 and fit a smooth curve that shows growth. We then take a pupil's Lexplore Score and map it against the curve, from there we can determine the Year Level Equivalent in years and months.   


The average student achieves a score of 150 in October of Year 2. This means that any student that gets a Lexplore score of 150 will get a Year Level Equivalent of 2.1 (The 2 represents Year 2 and the 1 represents October, the second month of the academic school year).  

Similarly, any student that gets a Lexplore score of 250 would get a Year Level Equivalent of 5.5 – because that is the Lexplore score that the average student achieves in February of Year 5.  


Min value: ≤1.0 = 1st month, Year 1  

Max value: ≥13.9 = 9th month, Year 13  

The YLE score is expressed as a decimal number with the number on the left representing the year of the year level and the number to the right of the decimal representing the month. 

What a Year Level Equivalent score is not:   

The Year Level Equivalent score is not an exact score it is only an approximation as it does not take into consideration any fluctuations during the school year. Note that the Year Level Equivalent may be deceptive as the text difficulty varies across Years to keep the text equally challenging. In higher years, even very small changes in the Lexplore score may result in large changes in the Year Level Equivalent score.  A good way of keeping a YLE score in perspective is to drill down into all the data we provide at Lexplore.  

Reading Age  

Reading Age is the term given to a child's reading ability when considered against the expectations for a child of their age. The Reading Age score shows how old the average student is during a specific school month. It is based on the Year Level Equivalent Value; the only difference is that it is shown as age in years and months since birth rather than when starting school.  

The Reading Age score is a pupil's level of reading ability compared to an average pupil of the same age. For example, a pupil with a Reading Age of 6:01 has performed on the Lexplore assessment as an average pupil who is 6 years and 1 month old. This metric can also be compared to the pupil’s actual test age. 


The average age for all students starting Year 1 in September is 5 years and 6 months. The Reading Age equivalent for the first month of school in Year 1 is 5:06, the Reading Age equivalent for the second month of school in Year 2 is 5:07, and the Reading Age equivalent for the first month of school in Year 1 is 6:05, and so on.  


Min value: ≤5:6 = 5 years and 6 months  

Max value: ≥18:0 = 18 years and 5 months  

What the Reading Age is not:   

Just like the Year Level Equivalent score, the Reading Age score is only an approximation as it does not take fluctuations during the school year into account. Moreover, the score refers to the age of the average student. When reviewing pupil results, we would advise not to solely focus on the Reading Age score as a lower or higher age does not always mean that the student reads like a student of that age given the same text. This is again due to differences in text complexity to keep the challenge comparable. 

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