ERIC Number: ED308121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Applying the Fry Grade Level Formula to College History Texts.
Stevenson, James A.
The Fry Readability Formula was employed to determine the reading grade levels of the eight most popular college U.S. history survey textbooks and the ten most popular Western civilization textbooks. It was discovered that the Fry readability technique could not produce consistently close findings on any single college history textbook. Indeed, every textbook exhibited a wide range of readability grade levels. Three passages were chosen from each book and the results were plotted on the Fry Readability Graph to determine the text's approximate grade level. Each U.S. history text was examined with a minimum of two readability checks, and each Western civilization text was examined by four readability checks. The findings produced by this methodology were presented in two tables. It appears that the Fry readability technique can provide only a very rough estimate of the reading grade level of college history textbooks. Although such estimates may be considered when selecting a survey history text, other factors should govern the choice of a textbook. The Fry technique and other formulas neglect vital aspects of student comprehension and important features of college-level history textbooks. No formula can guarantee that a textbook with an 11th grade readability level will be better understood than one with a 16th grade readability level. The books used in this study are listed and a 6-item note page is included. (GEA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Fry Readability Formula