What Is a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level?

Using the scale of 0-100, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is a tool used for measuring and reporting the readability of English text. It does this by considering the average number of words per sentence and the average number of syllables in a word to determine how complex the text is. It then converts that complexity level into a score.

In most cases, the lower the result a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level produces, the more complex the text is. A score between 60 and 70 is generally considered a desirable readability level. While it may be an important tool for comparing text readability, a specific passage is deemed appropriate for a given reader depending on many factors, key among them being the reader’s background knowledge, her interest in the subject and the level of support she received during reading.

Because it is only an estimate, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level may be inaccurate for some types of texts. The readability of the text is determined by examining two different variables, which in most cases are sentence-construction complexity and vocabulary complexity. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level best suits the field of education. It is built into most MS-Word applications. However, considering that MS Word does not register scores above grade 12, any grade above that is simply registered as grade 12 by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.