Assessing readability in English using Flesch-Kincaid

Assessing readability in English using Flesch-Kincaid

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What is Flesch-Kincaid?

Flesch-Kincaid is a simple tool you can use in Word to assess the reading level of a portion of text. The tool assess two aspects of the text: reading ease and grade level.

What do the numbers mean?

Reading ease and grade level are given corresponding scores.

Reading ease: the higher the score, the easier the text is to read (see formula below). Target score is above 60, which is considered easily read and understood by students at the 8 - 9th grade level.


Grade level:
this number corresponds to grade level i.e. the number of years of schooling required to be able to read the text (see formula below). Target score is 6th grade and lower.


How do I use the tool?

The Flesch-Kincaid tool is built into Word and is very easy to use:

1) Open your document in word.

2) Highlight the portion of text you would like to assess.

TIP It is a good idea to assess smaller chunks of your document separately as well as the document as a whole. This will allow you to target "problem" areas.

3) Run a spell check: from the Tools menu select Spelling and grammar. Click on Options. Under Grammar make sure that the Show readability statistics box is checked. Click OK.

4) When the spell check is complete you will be asked if you would like Word to continue checking the rest of the document. Click No. You will then be shown your readability statistics for that section of text.

TIP It is a good idea to document the original score, before you edit the text, for comparison purposes.

If you need help

We are happy to help you assess the reading level of your document. We can either provide instruction free of charge or edit the document for you at a charge of $10 per page. Please contact  Julia Kleinberg or  Jacynthe Touchette to arrange a meeting.

*Follow image link to source article in Wikipedia


Updated February 2 2017

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