Readability of texts: Human evaluation versus computer index

Pooneh Heydari, A. Mehdi Riazi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports a study which aimed at exploring if there is any difference between the evaluation of EFL expert readers and computer-based evaluation of English text difficulty. 43 participants including university EFL instructors and graduate students read 10 different English passages and completed a Likert-type scale on their perception of the different components of text difficulty. On the other hand, the same 10 English texts were fed into Word Program and Flesch Readability index of the texts were calculated. Then comparisons were made to see if readers' evaluation of texts were the same or different from the calculated ones. Results of the study revealed significant differences between participants' evaluation of text difficulty and the Flesch Readability index of the texts. Findings also indicated that there was no significant difference between EFL instructors and graduate students' evaluation of the text difficulty. The findings of the study imply that while readability formulas are valuable measures for evaluating level of text difficulty, they should be used cautiously. Further research seems necessary to check the validity of the readability formulas and the findings of the present study.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-190
    Number of pages14
    JournalMediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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