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January 16, 2012

Readability Scores

To captivate and teach adult learners, content materials should be between 7th and 8th grade reading levels. The Flesch Reading Ease Test (FRET) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test (FKGLT) scores are used to determine readability. 
The two primary concepts for both tests are Average Sentence Length (ASL), the total number of words divided by the total number of sentences; and Average Syllables per Word (ASW), the  total number of syllables divided by the total number of words.    

206.835 - (1.015 x ASL) - (84.6 x ASW)
FRET employs a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier the document is to read and understand. An ideal FRET score for adult learners is 60 - 70.
(.39 x ASL) + (11.8 x ASW) – 15.59
The FKGLT score is associated with grade levels.  For example, a score of 8.0 indicates materials can be understood by an 8th grader. An ideal FKGLT score for adult learners is 7 - 8.

Document readability scores provide content authors with a good idea of how much editing a document may need before publishing. For example, if the FKGLT score is 15 or 16, go gas up the chain saw. If it's 9 or 10, a dull pair of scissors will work. Editing for readability means shortening sentences and words because shorter sentences with shorter words are easier to read, understand and thus more likely to keep the reader’s attention. 

Click here to learn how to obtain FRET and FKGLT readability scores using MS Outlook & Word.