INK Reading Grade Level Checker tool can help determine your writing's readability score.
Imagine that you're reading President George Washington's inaugural address in 1789. Suddenly, you realized that you've been reading the first line repeatedly, but you don't understand what it says.
The sentence reads:
"Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month."
You know what all these words mean. However, absorbing the information seems more challenging than it should.
While the sentence above is grammatically correct, it's too long and complicated. As a result, readers may find it hard to absorb the information. In other words, it's not very readable.
The readability grade for the 1789 George Washington inaugural speech is 15.77. That means it's tough to read and can be best understood by college students or graduates.
In this post, you'll find out what readability is and how to measure it. We'll also consider the various readability measurements, including the Flesch Reading Ease.
Readability refers to the ease at which readers can understand your writing. In the same way, readability scores estimate the number of schooling years that the reader requires to absorb the information in a document.
Readability affects how we process information in the content.
Writings with good readability enable efficient reading and absorption of information. On the other hand, poor readability makes a draining experience and could scare readers away.
That's why many businesses, including government organizations, have a readability requirement for official documents.
For example, the Texas Department of Insurance has 40 as the minimum Flesch Reading Ease score. That's equivalent to the reading level of a first-year undergraduate student.
So, how does the reading grade level work?
Most formulas calculate readability score based on measurements such as:
The formulas then compare one or all of these elements to the total number of words or sentences to generate a score.
With that said, readability scores are not a qualitative judgment of writing. They do not account for grammar issues, spellings, or voice. A document with several grammatical errors can receive a higher readability score than one with perfect grammar.
Also, the readability of a text covers several elements that a formula cannot process. These include cultural references, word choice, and voice.
The Flesch–Kincaid readability tests have two sets: the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.
Like other readability tests, these two have similar core measures — sentence length and word length. However, the weighting factors are slightly different.
According to the Flesch reading ease test, a higher score indicates that the text is easier to read. Conversely, a lower score implies that the material is more difficult to read.
The formula for Flesch Reading Ease is:
206.835 - 1.015 x (words/sentences) - 84.6 x (syllables/words)
Here's how we can interpret the scores
According to this measurement, the highest possible readability score is 121.22. Time magazine scores about 52 and the Harvard Law Review's general readability score is the low 30s.
The Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level formula presents the readability score using the grade levels in the United States. That way, parents and education experts can judge the readability levels of various books.
The formula for calculating Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level is:
0.39 x (words/sentences) + 11.8 x (syllables/words) - 15.59
Most writers don't have the time to count all the words, sentences, and syllables in their post to calculate the Flesch Reading Ease score. Luckily, a reading grade level checker tool can help.
Before we consider how INK Reading Grade Level Checker works, let's explore other measurements.
The Automated Readability Index (ARI) is an alternative to the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. Like most of the readability measurements on this list, the ARI is based on the U.S. grade level representation.
For example, an ARI score of 10 indicates that a high school student would understand the text. Here's how to calculate it.
For example, if your ARI score is 10, your text should be understood by high school students.
Automated Readability Index formula: 4.71 x (characters/words) + 0.5 x (words/sentences) - 21.43
Note that the index uses character per word instead of syllables.
Meri Coleman and T. L. Liau designed the Coleman-Liau Index to gauge the readability of a text. Again, this measurement approximates the U.S. grade level that's necessary to comprehend a document.
Coleman-Liau Index: 5.89 x (characters/words) - 0.3 x (sentences/words) – 15.8.
Like the ARI, Coleman-Liau Index also uses characters per word (instead of syllable per word) to calculate readability. That's because Coleman and Liau believe that word length in letters is a better predictor of readability than word length in syllables.
According to the Gunning-Fog Index, short sentences written with simple words score better than longer sentences in complicated words.
To calculate this measurement, you must first determine two variables: the Average Sentence Length (ASL) and the Percent Hard Words (PHW). Here's how to derive these variables from your text.
Count the number of exacts words and sentences in your text. Then, divide the number of words by the number of sentences to get the ASL.
Next, count the number of complicated words — words with over three syllables that are proper nouns — in the text. Divide that number by the total number of words in the document to get the PHW.
Finally, add the ASL and PHW, then multiply the result by 0.4.
Gunning Fog Index formula: Grade level= 0.4 (ASL + PHW).
Note that 7 or 8 is the ideal Gunning Fox Index score. Also, anything higher than 12 might be too challenging for most people to read.
Laesbarhedsindex or LIX is a readability measure that calculates how easy it is to read a foreign text.
Swedish scholar Carl-Hugo Björnsson developed the measurement using a word factor and a sentencing factor to predict a text's readability. Here's the formula:
LIX = Number of words/Number of periods + (Number of Long Words x 100) / Number of words.
Note that Lix determines word length by the percentage of long words. The measure considers any word that has over six letters as long.
G Harry McLaughlin created the SMOG Index to estimate the level of education required to understand a text.
Some users would argue that SMOG is an acronym for Simple Measure of Gobbledygook. However, most would agree that the measure is a nod to the Gunning-Fog Index.
To calculate the SMOG Index, choose ten sentences in a row near the beginning of your text. Likewise, select ten sentences in the middle row, and another ten sentences in the row near the end.
Now, count the number of words with three or more syllables in these three groups of 10 sentences. It includes numbers that appear multiple times in the document.
Finally, calculate the square root of the result from the previous step and round it off to the nearest ten. That's your SMOG Index score.
At this point, you may have noticed the complex calculations required to measure your document's readability. Luckily, you can automate the process using INK Reading Grade Level Checker.
Paste your document into the text box, and select the Analyze icon to begin. The program will then provide your reading grade level score within seconds.