Formula for Measuring the Readability of Printed Educational Materials

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Formulas for Measuring Readability of Printed Educational Material 

Formula for Measuring the Readability of Printed Educational Materials

Readability Measurement Formula for  Printed Educational Material,Flesch Kincaid Scale Formula to Measure Readability,Fog index to Measure Readability,Fry Readability Graph Extended for Printed Educational Material,SMOG Formula for Readability Measurement.

Readability Measurement Formula for  Printed Educational Material

Flesch Kincaid Scale Formula to Measure Readability

    The Flesch Kincaid formula was developed as an objective measurement of readability of materials between grade 5 and college level. Its use has been validated repeatedly over more than 50 years for assessing news reports, adult educational materials, and government publications. 

    The Flesch formula is based on a count of two basic language elements: average sentence length (in words) of selected samples and average word length (measured as syllables per 100 words of sample). The reading ease (RE) score is calculated by combining these two variables (Flesch, 1948; Spadero, 1983; Spadero, Robinson, & Smith, 1980).  

Fog index to Measure Readability

    The Fog formula developed by Gunning (1968) is appropriate for use in determining the read ability of materials from grade 4 to college level. It is calculated based on average sentence length and the percentage of multisyllabic words in a 100-word passage. The Fog index is considered one of the simpler methods because it is based on a short sample of words (100), it does not require counting syllables of all words, and the rules are easy to follow (Spadero, 1983; Spadero et al. , 1980). 

Fry Readability Graph Extended for Printed Educational Material

    The contribution made by the Fry formula derives from the simplicity of its use without sacrificing accuracy, as well as its wide and continuous range of testing readability of materials (especially books, pamphlets, and brochures), which spans grade 1 through college (grade 17 ). This formula is well accepted by literature and reading specialists and is not copyrighted (Doak et al., 1996). A series of simple rules can be applied to plot on a graph two language elements the number of syllables and the number of sentences in three 100-word selections (Fry, 1968, 1977; Spadero et al., 1980). 

    If a very long text is being analyzed, such as a book containing 50 or more pages, one should use six 100-word samples rather than three such samples (Doak et al., 1996). With some practice, this formula takes only about 10 minutes to determine the readability level of a document. See Appendix A for specific directions on using the formula and Figure A-1 for the Fry readability graph.

SMOG Formula for Readability Measurement

    The SMOG formula developed by McLaughlin (1969) is recommended not only because it offers relatively easy computation (simple and fast) but also because it is one of the most valid tests of readability (Wang et al., 2013). The SMOG formula measures readability of PEMs from grade 4 to college level based on the number of polysyllabic words within a set number of sentences (Doak et al., 1985). 

    It evaluates the read ability grade level of PEMs to within 1.5 grades of accuracy (Myers & Shepard-White, 2004). Thus, when using the SMOG formula to calculate the grade level of material, the SMOG results are usually about two grades higher than the grade levels calculated by the other methods (Spadero, 1983).

    The SMOG formula has been used extensively to judge grade-level readability of patient educational materials. It is one of the most popular measurement tools because of its reputation for reading-level accuracy, its simple directions, and its speed of use, which is a particularly important factor if computerized resources for analysis of test samples are not available (Meade & Smith , 1991; Wang et al., 2013).

    In summary, Doak et al. (1985) state that it is critically important to determine the readability of all written materials at the time they are drafted or adopted by using one or more of the many available formulas. These authors contend that you cannot afford to “fly blind” by using health materials that are untested for reading ability difficulty. Pretesting PEMs before distribution enables the nurse to be sure they fit the literacy level of the audience for which they are intended. It is imperative that the formulas used to measure grade-level readability of PEMs are appropriate for the type of material being tested.

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