Pia Savage points out in her comment on the previous post that the “score” in those readability tests comes most likely from the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. This has been around since John Howard was in short pants; we learned about it, and similar measures, in Dip Ed in 1964, and they were venerable then. The grade level is calculated with the following formula:
Obviously one cannot “fail” such a test, nor is it in itself a good or bad thing to get a particular result as the test totally ignores both meaning and context. That is a serious failing. Nonetheless, it is a useful indicator of the likelihood of communicating effectively.
I am however something of a fan of the Plain Language movement. I spent a very profitable year in 1978 studying Language Variation and Stylistics with Professor R D Eagleson, one of the Australian gurus of that movement. I attach his Writing in Plain English.
NOTE: Just out of curiosity I checked my South Sydney Herald article. It comes up as “Junior High”, about right for such a piece. Today’s editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald gets the same score.
The following table contains the readability results for https://ninglun.wordpress.com.
|Average words per Sentence||8.90|
|Words with 1 Syllable||5663|
|Words with 2 Syllables||1975|
|Words with 3 Syllables||1017|
|Words with 4 or more Syllables||466|
|Percentage of word with three or more syllables||16.26%|
|Average Syllables per Word||1.59|
|Gunning Fog Index||10.06|
|Flesch Reading Ease||63.05|
And from the site that did that comes further information:
Philip Chalmers of Benefit from IT provided the following typical Fog Index scores, to help ascertain the readability of documents.
|6||TV guides, The Bible, Mark Twain|
|8 – 10||Most popular novels|
|11||Wall Street Journal|
|14||The Times, The Guardian|
|15 – 20||Academic papers|
|Over 20||Only government sites can get away with this, because you can’t ignore them.|
|Over 30||The government is covering something up|