All About The Flesch Kincaid Grade Level

If you are not into reading and education, you won’t know what the Flesh Kincaid Grade level is. It is actually a readability index. It determines how difficult the text is that you read. It also determines how difficult it is for you to understand it. It all boils down to how many complicated words

Sherice Jacob

If you are not into reading and education, you won’t know what the Flesh Kincaid Grade level is. It is actually a readability index. It determines how difficult the text is that you read. It also determines how difficult it is for you to understand it. It all boils down to how many complicated words and long sentences are in the text.

Readability scores rank between 0 and 18

Readability scores are numbers that tell you how easily you read text. For instance, Grammarly has a reading score that is based on the length of the sentences and words used in a document.

A formula is used which is known as the Flesch reading-ease test. You could score anything between 0 to 18 with 18 being the most difficult text to read and understand. 0-1 for instance would be for the pre-kindergarten kids. 1-5 would be for the 1st graders to the 5th graders. 5-11 would be for 5th graders to 11th graders. 11-18 would be for 11th graders to 18th graders.

This was the metric system created for the English language as well as the education system of the United States. [1]

There are two Flesch-Kincaid readability tests

One is the Flesch Reading Ease, and the other is the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. They use the same measures for word length and sentence length, but they have different weighting factors. Today we are just talking about the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level.

Just a bit of history

The Flesch Kincaid (F–K) reading grade level was developed by Peter Kincaid and his team. They were under contract with the U.S. Navy in 1975. They developed it, working firstly with the Flesch Reading Ease. The Flesch Reading Ease score had to be converted using a table to translate to the reading grade level. This was achieved in the 1970s to make it easier to use. The Navy utilized it for the difficult technical manuals used in training. It soon became the United States Military Standard [2].

The Flesch–Kincaid grade level readability tests are used extensively in education

The formula is a U.S. grade level. Parents, teachers, and librarians find it easier for them to judge the readability levels of different books and texts.

Today it’s used for a much wider variety of applications. If the text has a Flesch Kincaid level of 8, for instance, this means the reader needs a grade 8 level of reading or above to understand what they are reading. Even if they’re an advanced reader, it means they will still find the content less time-consuming to read.

Flesch Kincaid readability tests make use of formulas

The Flesch Kincaid Grade Level readability tests work by the word counts and sentence length, etc. These get converted into formulas that look just like mathematical formulas. Here’s an example of a reading formula:

It can look very confusing – But basically, the formula really just takes into account the length of the sentence as well as the word length. If a sentence has a lot of words, they are going to be more difficult to read, not so? Those old classics of long ago that were written in the 18th and 19th centuries consisted of very long sentences. People’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be back then. Today’s readers don’t have the time or patience for long sentences. They want to read a script that is short and easy and that holds their attention.

What is Flesch-Kincaid useful for?

  • Writing copy for a website like this article
  • To advertise your products
  • To produce terms and conditions that don’t confuse
  • To boost SEO performance
  • Choosing textbooks for training programs or classes
  • Editing your novel
  • Communicating to non-specialist audiences

Are there other readability tests besides the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level?

Today, readability is assessed through readability tests. Readability formulas are applied, and as we mentioned above, they look mathematical in nature. These formulas help to judge a person’s readability, i.e. their level of difficulty in reading the text. As we also mentioned above, most readability formulas are based on just one thing and that is the difficulty of words and sentences. Here are some popular and commonly used formulas.

What each one of these formulas says

The bottom line, the Flesch Reading Ease Formula assesses a reader’s grade level. [2]. It’s one of the few really accurate measures that people rely on; used particularly for school text. It has become the standard readability formula used by a lot of US Government Agencies. But it’s primarily used to assess how difficult a reading passage is. The formulas are ‘saying’ that if you write stories or articles, by using shorter sentences and fewer long English words, you can make reading easier and quicker.

If this text you are reading had a Flesch Kincaid level of 8, you, the reader, would need a grade 8 level of reading or above in order to understand it.

Many proficient readers and speakers prefer the time saved by just reading plain and simple English.

Scores that are good for certain people

  • If you write for kids, aim for scores that are at their specific grade level or even lower.
  • If you are writing a bestselling novel, aim for a grade 6 level or lower.
  • If you are writing for the general public, aim for a grade 8 level or lower.
  • If you are writing for a graduate audience, try and aim for a grade 10 level or lower. For a post-graduate audience, try for a grade 12 level or lower.

Can you use readability scores in writing?

Yes, you can. A good way to use readability scores in writing would be to use a specific tool, like, for the best results.

If you want to improve your readability score learn to shorten your sentences. Try to use an active voice and correct your grammar and spelling. Also, replace long words with short words as long as they have the same meaning. And remember to match your tone to your audience and to use more active verbs than you do adverbs.

Readability is important. In all likelihood, your readers will more clearly understand your ideas and thoughts. There is also less misunderstanding and the reader can process the information that you’ve shared easily. The Flesch-Kincaid grade level score gives writers and others a quick and easy way to assess B2B work. It is best for writers to keep their writing simple and clear. It’s that simple.

Sherice Jacob

Plagiarism Expert Sherice Jacob brings over 20 years of experience to digital marketing as a copywriter and content creator. With a finger on the pulse of AI and its developments, she works extensively with Originality.AI to help businesses and publishers get the best returns from their Content.

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