Flesch-Kincade Grade Level thingy

Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 04:22 pm
Whenever I run a spelling and grammar check through Word I get this little Flesch-Kincade grade level thingy that pops up along with the word count and all that other stuff.

When I'm writing for myself I use bad grammar sometimes on purpose and at other time because.... well.... I don't know any better. Even after correction I usually end up with a 9 or 10 on this grade level thing. When I use bad grammar on purpose - let's not even talk about what my score is. Still, I think I write better than the average 9th grader.

Today I had to type in a copy of a contract dealy for Mr. B. - it was complete mumbo-jumbo, legalese stuff and it had a Flesch Kincade grade level of 12.0!

I don't know if Flesch-Kincade went to American schools but while I've known kids that write unreadable things it isn't nearly as bad as this legal crapola.

Just what in the heck does this thing measure?

Should I re-enroll in high school?

Thank you!
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 07:25 am
A quick (and possibly incorrect) answer is that grade levels are determined by a formula that counts numbers of words and numbers of sentences on a few average pages. A bunch of simple sentences would be a much lower grade level than many lengthy compound-complex ones.

Given that many things today are written on a fifth-grade level for the average reader (can't support at the moment), you're doing fine.
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drom et reve
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 07:33 am
I always do that too, Boomerang, just for fun.

The F-K grade level is found by using this formula:

0.39 x Average No. of words in sentences + 11.8 x Average No. of syllables per word - 15.59.

It's a not quite perfect test.

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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 07:34 am
Thank you, bermbits!

I had not considered word count/sentence count to be a judge of anything but I can see where your theory might hold up.

I've considered cutting and pasting some accepted "good" writing into Word and running it through the check just to see what grade level Flesch-Kincade would give it.
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 07:39 am
I agree that this is not quite a perfect test, drom_et_reve!

Thank you for providing the actual formula used.
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drom et reve
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 08:01 am
No problem whatsoever!

Did you try putting in some 'good' writing? I suppose that you could go to Bibliomania and copy some of 'Middlemarch' or 'Crime and Punishment,' or something, into Word. I'm betting that it would be about a twelve...

Do you have that other test, that gives a mark out of 100 for readability?

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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 08:18 am
Is that the Flesch reading ease test?

I ran the first part of "Lolita" (I think we can all agree that this is "good") and it came up with a reading ease score of 58 and a grade level of 10.3!

It would be interesting to see how other books fare.
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 09:03 am
Moby Dick (opening paragraphs): Reading ease: 72.7; Grade level: 6.2.
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