Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library
This is a branch of The Wikipedia Library (TWL). It is designed to help editors of Simple English Wikipedia by giving them information about and access to research tools.
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One of the challenges in writing articles for Simple English Wikipedia is to keep the articles easily understandable while still being accurate. Difficulty can be caused by a number of things including difficult concepts per se, poor writing, difficult grammar, and difficult vocabulary. One way to gauge the difficulty of your texts is to apply a "readability test." There are various tests that try to score readability. Below are some of the more common ones, with brief explanations of each one as well as links to a site where texts can be automatically scored for free and the test more fully explained. (Most or all of the scoring sites give score results for many of the other tests.)
- The Flesch Reading Ease Readability Formula
++ Concept: The shorter sentences are and the fewer syllables the words have, the easier a text is to read.
++ Formula: RE = 206.835 – (1.015 x ASL) – (84.6 x ASW)
RE = Readability Ease
ASL = Average Sentence Length
ASW = Average number of syllables per word
Scores are from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the easier the text is to read. Scoring site: http://www.readabilityformulas.com/free-readability-formula-tests.php
Discussions of the test: http://www.readabilityformulas.com/flesch-reading-ease-readability-formula.php
Score of the paragraph above: 52.3 ("fairly difficult to read" / roughly high-school junior)
- Gunning Fog Index Readability Formula
++ Concept: Difficulty is measured by sentence length plus percentage of hard words. Hard words are 3-syllable words other than proper nouns, inflected verbs of three syllables, and easily understood compound words.
++ Formula: Grade Level = 0.4 (ASL + PHW)
Scoring site: http://www.readabilityformulas.com/freetests/six-readability-formulas.php
Descriptive site: http://www.readabilityformulas.com/gunning-fog-readability-formula.php
Score of the paragraph above: 13.3 (hard to read)