Readability Test

At what grade level is your online course aimed? Is it senior high school or elementary? Researchers have been concerned about the readability of content that high school students are reading in different subject levels (Hittleman & Robinson, 1975). Hittleman & Robinson, (1975) suggest that rewriting the content may not be a solution because the concept loads were above the readers understanding of the content. Muswazi (2009) found that some of the readers may misunderstand terminology. Here are three different methods to determine the readability level of your courses:

  1. Readability Formulas ( gives a good explanation of the different formulas they use to determine the readability of the content.
  2. Another website that conducts readability tests is Readable ( You can copy the text or URL of your website. The URL test will not seem to work with LMS – web sites that ask the user to login. Copy and paste a paragraph or two and view the results.
  3. MSWord-readabilityThe third option is using MS Word. MS Word also allows you to test the reading level of a document. The following explains the two readability tests that are available with MS Word.

Flesch Reading Ease test – This test rates text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For most standard files, you want the score to be between 60 and 70.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test – This test rates text on a U.S. school grade level. For example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document.

View this article ( to enable readability statistics and view a more detailed explanation of the tests.

Daniel R. Hittleman & Robinson, H. Alan. (1975). Readability of high school text passages before and after revision. Journal of Literacy Research, 7(4), 369-382. doi: 10.1080/10862967509547154

Muswazi, Paiki (2009). Usability of university library home pages in Southern Africa: A case study. Information Development, 25(1), 51-60, doi:10.1177/0266666908101264

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