27 April 2009

Have you heard of this?

This is the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. I was writing a document in Google Docs and checked the word count. Whoa Google Docs! The word count function not only checked the word count, gave me number of paragrphs, pages, spaces and sentences, but also applied not one, not two, but three readability assessments to my document: Flesch Readng Ease, Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level, and an Automated Readability Index.

I pulled the following from Wikipedia, as referenced in the link above. But for the curious, my writers workshop literary exercise received an 82.50 on the Reading Ease assessment, and scored a 5th grade level on the other two tests......

In the Flesch Reading Ease test, higher scores indicate material that is easier to read; lower numbers mark passages that are more difficult to read. The formula for the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) test is
206.835 - 1.015 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total words}}{\mbox{total sentences}} \right ) - 84.6 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total syllables}}{\mbox{total words}} \right )

Scores can be interpreted as shown in the table below.[1]

Score Notes
90.0–100.0 easily understandable by an average 11-year old student
60.0–70.0 easily understandable by 13- to 15-year old students
0.0–30.0 best understood by college graduates

Reader's Digest magazine has a readability index of about 65, Time magazine scores about 52, an average year 7 student's (eleven years) written assignment has a readability test of 60-70 (and a reading grade level of 6-7) and the Harvard Law Review has a general readability score in the low 30s. The highest (easiest) readability score possible is around 120 (e.g. every sentence consisting of only two one-syllable words); theoretically there is no lower bound on the score -- this sentence, for example, taken as a reading passage unto itself, has a readability score of about 14.3. This paragraph has a readability score of about 50.6.

1 comment:

  1. Hello sis,

    reading levels in many schools in the US use this "readability scale" remember when you were in school and the back of trade books said "R.L. 6.2" or some other score. This is somewhat helpful to parents/teachers to figure out what their child/students are capable of reading. There are other scales out now too but I am out of that loop.

    xoxoxoxo sis