ERIC Number: ED189563
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Usefulness of Readability Formulas for Achieving Army Readability Objectives: Research and State-of-the-Art Applied to the Army's Problem.
Kern, Richard P.
This report was prepared to assist the United States Army in evaluating the usefulness of readability formulas in identifying material that will be comprehended by readers at a given reading skill level. Existing readability methods and research findings were reviewed against three major criterion questions and the findings are discussed. The conclusions reported are: (1) readability formulas cannot match material to readers at targeted reading grade levels, (2) rewriting to lower the formula reading grade level score does not increase comprehension, and (3) requiring that text be written to satisfy a targeted reading grade level score focuses attention on meeting the score requirement rather than on organizing the material to meet the readers' information needs. An approach is outlined for developing a broader based method and criteria to bypass the deficiencies of present readability formulas. It is suggested that an Army readability standards checklist should be developed that would include such items as visuals and organization of content as well as sentence length and word difficulty. The appendix includes a special report, prepared in 1974, summarizing interviews with Army writers of training manuals. (MKM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - General; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Army Research Inst. for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Alexandria, VA.