What Flesch measures

Subject: What Flesch measures
From: Steven Jong <SteveJong -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1996 10:39:39 -0500

Bill Warner <Bill -dot- Warner -at- RELIASTAR -dot- COM> writes:
>> Readability studies that analyze readability (e.g., Flesch readability
>> scale) take into consideration much more than "individual words." The
>> factors involved include:
>> 1. Complexity of the words. For example, the number of syllables in
>> the randomly selected sample passage (or in the entire document).
>> Another consideration analyzed is the number of uncommon proper nouns.
>> 2. Complexity of the sentences: For example, number of words in each
>> sentence. Another consideration analyzed is the types of sentences
>> (e.g., declarative, interrogative).

Various readability indices measure various factors, but the Flesch Index
measures *only* the average syllable length and sentence length. It is, and
readability metrics in general are, simplistic but well-directed toward
gauging readability.

-- Steve (a reluctant supporter of readability indices)

Steven Jong, Documentation Group Leader ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc, 281 Winter St., Waltham, MA 02154 USA
<jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com>, 617.672.4902 [voice], 617.890.2681 [FAX]

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