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Zinc Levels and Level Placement
Zinc Levels and Level Placement

Quick assessments that help your students reach their goals

Updated over a week ago

Getting Started with Zinc Level Placements

Zinc Level Placements help teachers track reading growth over time. These short assessments also allow Zinc to generate auto-leveled content for students. Teachers may choose to assign Level Placements directly to entire classes or specific students. If students haven't had a recent assessment in Zinc, activities like Ignition and Lift Off start with Level Placements to create a positive, personalized learning experience.

Please use the table of contents to the right to jump to the section you need.


With Zinc Level Placement, you can easily assess which Zinc difficulty level is ideal. Zinc difficulty levels correspond to grade and Lexile levels.

The Level Placement itself is made up of 3 to 7 short passages with a total of 9 to 20 questions. Level Placements take most students 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The assessment ends when it has enough information to determine a student's Zinc Level, with students assessed at higher levels seeing more passages and questions.

Once students finish the Level Placement, they’ll be assigned a Zinc Level. Their "Articles" home page will show students articles at their level. Students can use this level as a baseline for growth, while also exploring easier and harder articles that interest them. Ignition and Lift Off will generate content for the student based on their Zinc Level.

How often can Level Placements be assigned?

Teachers can assign a new Level Placement every 90 days, which should allow you to check in on your students' levels 3 to 4 times each school year. You can keep track of when a new Level Placement can be assigned to each of your students in the Class Level Placement Report. If a student doesn't begin a Level Placement assignment for an entire month, the assignment will expire.

Please note: Ignition and Lift Off require a Level to provide content for students. If your students have taken a Level Placement in the past two years, Lift Off will use that Level. If not, they'll be assigned a new one. Ignition uses Levels from the last six months, and will begin with a new Level Placement if the student requires it. Ignition also ends with a Level Placement to measure a student's progress.

Assessment Format & Timing

As students take a Level Placement, they read passages on a variety of topics and answer two to three questions about each. The passages themselves are one to two paragraphs in length and fall into one of four categories: humanities, social science, science, or prose/literary narrative. Difficult vocabulary words or terms are defined within the passages (as one may see on a standardized test). As students progress further in a Level Placement, the passages increase in difficulty level.

Each Level Placement contains 3 to 7 short passages with 9 to 20 questions total. Students generally complete the assessment in 15 to 30 minutes. The higher a student's reading level, the more passages it will take to assess. The Level Placement will end once the system has enough information to determine the student's Zinc Level.

The questions on the Level Placement are multiple choice and assess a range of Zinc skills. Multiple choice questions offer four answer choices with one correct answer. As with other Zinc activities, students must make a prediction before unlocking the multiple choice answers.

Zinc Levels

Difficulty levels are derived from approximate Lexile ranges and adjusted to follow Zinc editorial standards surrounding text complexity, target audience, and age-appropriateness.



Lexile Band



3 & 4

520L - 940L



5 & 6

925L - 1070L




970L - 1120L




1010L - 1185L

Increasing difficulty



1050L - 1260L




1080L - 1335L



11 & 12

1185L - 1385L






The recommended Zinc Level represents a student's independent reading level. Texts at that level should be accessible to the student, while also being engaging and appropriately challenging. The Zinc Levels correspond to standard Lexile and grade-level reading targets.

How to Assign Zinc Level Placements

To assign a Zinc Level Placement, click "Assign Activities" in the middle of the top menu and then click "Level Placements."

The Level Placements page contains a list of any previous Level Placement assignments, including when they were assigned and whether or not they were completed. Click "Assign Now" to begin the process of a new Level Placement. The assignment will not be given until you complete the details which students should receive the Level Placement.

Choose whether to give the assignment to individual students or an entire class. For students, you will begin typing each student name; once the right name appears, you may click on it to add that student to the assignment. For classes, you can begin typing the name of the class or select from a drop down menu.

The system will not assign a student more than one Level Placement at a time, and it will not assign a new Level Placement unless 90 days have passed since their last assessment. The system will tell you if any students did not receive the assignment and why.

If this occurs, you may review these details on the Level Placement assignment page. Click on the notice that says "⚠ Some students were not assigned this Level Placement" as shown below. This will open a popup.

You will see a list of names and the reasons they did not receive the assignment. If the student has another Level Placement in progress, they need to complete that Level Placement. If a student is in a "lockout period," that means they have taken a recent Level Placement and most likely do not need to take another.

Please remember, Ignition and Lift Off automatically assign Level Placements if necessary. These Level Placements will not appear on a student's dashboard because students are prompted to complete them within the Ignition or Lift Off program. The system will not allow you to assign an additional Level Placement to these students.

Expiration of Level Placement Assignments

If a student does not complete a Level Placement assigned on its own, the assignment will expire after a month has passed. Level Placements assigned as part of Ignition will not expire because Ignition assignments do not expire. In the event a student's Level Placement is attached to an Expired Reading Sprint, they can find their Level Placement as explained under Helping Students Find their Level Placement.

As the teacher, you will still have a record of any incomplete expired assignments, but they will no longer be visible to students on their list of assignments.

Helping Students Find Their Level Placement

When assigned a Level Placement, students see a notification on the bell in the top right-hand corner of their Zinc Dashboard. The Level Placement will also appear on their list of recent active assignments. If the assessment is part of an Ignition or Lift Off assignment, those assignments will be visible instead. In all cases, the student only needs to click "Start Assignment" or "Continue Assignment" to reach the Level Placement.

In rare cases, a Level Placement has been assigned to a student as part of another assignment, and that assignment has expired. The Level Placement can then be reached by clicking "Continue Level Placement" in the top right-hand corner of their Zinc Dashboard as shown below.

Tracking Progress with Reports

Once you've assigned a Level Placement, you can track student progress and results by clicking on an individual Student Performance Report or see results for an entire class with the Current Level Placement Report. Both of these can be found by clicking "View Classes & Reports" and then "Reports." To learn more about these features, please see Reports.

Level Placement Resets

If you feel a student should retake a Level Placement, please contact Zinc Support by clicking the blue bubble at the bottom-right of your screen. Please provide the name of the student who needs their Level Placement reset. A reset provides the student with a fresh Level Placement assignment that they will see on their Zinc Dashboard.

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