Pretty soon you've checked your email and you're reading your RSS feeds and then it hits you, the most cunning plan that ever won first prize for cunning in an international cunning competition.
You can use FLESH to analyze the writing styles of a sample of your favourite edubloggers. All you need to do is take a sample of first 1000 words each published on their blog in the month of October 2007 (text only, no blog hardware or comments), run it through FLESH to calculate the Flesch Reading Ease Score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, quick bit of statistical analysis and bung it off to a journal.
Tea finished, back to bed and sleep peacefully. But when you wake up in the morning, the cunning plan doesn't seem so ... cunning.
|Author||Fleisch Reading Ease||Fleisch-Kincaid Grade Level|
The Flesch Reading Ease formula uses only two variables, the number of syllables and the number of sentences for each 100-word sample:
It predicts reading ease on a scale from 1 to 100, with 30 being "very difficult" and 70 being "easy." Flesch wrote that a score of 100 indicates reading matter understood by readers who have completed the fourth grade and are, in the language of the U.S. Census barely "functionally literate." Flesch compared the reading scores of popular magazines with other variables:
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is an index that gives the years of (U.S.) education required to comprehend a document. For example, a document with a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score of 10 would require that a reader have about 10 years (or a 10th grade level) of education to comprehend the document. It can be calculated using the equation:
Something funny with Cann1 - no matter how many times I check it, FLESH always gives a weird result for that sample. As for the rest of it - what do the numbers mean? No idea. I suppose that edubloggers writing styles (on this rather small sample) are somewhere between "easy" and "very difficult". The scores are roughly normally distributed. There's a negative correlation between the Reading Ease scores and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level but it's not statistically significant.
So you sigh, decide against the idea of trying to stretch it out for a journal article and think, sod it, I'll just blog it.
Update: Thanks to Tony for sending me this additional link. This site in particular seems to confirm the opinion I've formed over the past 24 hours that readability indices are oversimplified nonsense.