Re: Readability question? (take II)

Subject: Re: Readability question? (take II)
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 23:15:57 -0800

Geoff Hart wrote:

All commonly used readability formulas that I'm familiar with are based on various mechanical calculations of things like word length and sentence length. For these parameters to be meaningful, you must prove that two separate assertions are reasonable: that longer words are always more difficult to understand than shorter words, and that longer sentences are always harder to understand than shorter sentences.

No. The meaning lies in the strength of the correlation between the lengths of words and sentences and the numbers of 6th graders who did and didn't have any difficulty reading and understanding the text. It has no further requirement for all 6th graders to have the same response.

If the problem is that this simple statistic is being taken by someone to represent "Readability" in aggregate, then I agree, it does not.

Wikipedia has at least a dozen articles on readability researchers, formulas, and indexes. See the list at end of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test topic.

Hope this helps.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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Re: Readability question?: From: Milan Davidovic
Readability question? (take II): From: Geoff Hart

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