ERIC Number: EJ1028357
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Can Readability Formulas Be Used to Successfully Gauge Difficulty of Reading Materials?
Begeny, John C.; Greene, Diana J.
Psychology in the Schools, v51 n2 p198-215 Feb 2014
A grade level of reading material is commonly estimated using one or more readability formulas, which purport to measure text difficulty based on specified text characteristics. However, there is limited direction for teachers and publishers regarding which readability formulas (if any) are appropriate indicators of actual text difficulty. Because oral reading fluency (ORF) is considered one primary indicator of an elementary aged student's overall reading ability, the purpose of this study was to assess the link between leveled reading passages and students' actual ORF rates. ORF rates of 360 elementary-aged students were used to determine whether reading passages at varying grade levels are, as would be predicted by readability levels, more or less difficult for students to read. Results showed that a small number of readability formulas were fairly good indicators of text, but this was only true at particular grade levels. Additionally, most of the readability formulas were more accurate for higher ability readers. One implication of the findings suggests that teachers should be cautious when making instructional decisions based on purported "grade-leveled" text, and educational researchers and practitioners should strive to assess difficulty of text materials beyond simply using a readability formula.
Descriptors: Readability Formulas, Difficulty Level, Reading Fluency, Elementary School Students, Accuracy, Reading Materials, Oral Reading
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A