PART TWO — “Readability Review”

Ever hear of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests?

There are two of them: The Flesch Reading Easiness and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tests. They use the same core measures: word length and sentence length. It’s the latter test that should concern you when making a training purchase decision.

National studies agree that close to half of our workforce does not read above a 4th Grade level. And, even more disturbing is the fact that only slightly more than one-third of our high school graduates can comprehend and form opinions from what they read today.

Here’s an illustrative story. Some time ago the CEO of a major automobile manufacturer did a study and discovered that the written communications and procedures being used by his corporation were the cause of many plant accidents and inefficiencies. He found out that the problem was a result of two things: a) those written communications were being written, for the most part, by college graduates and b) many of his employees had difficulty in reading comprehension.

So, he ordered that every document in his corporation be re-written to a 6th Grade reading level. Only after this project failed to make much improvement in plant efficiencies did he publicly state that he should have required a 4th Grade reading level.

What does all this mean to you? Well, when making your training purchase decisions it would serve you well to ask the vendor what Grade Level test had been applied to his products. Unfortunately, I would bet that he’ll give you a blank stare.

“Never heard of such a thing,” he’ll likely say.

Well, that will tell you all you really need to know. That vendor understands very little about the Learning process. He’s only in the business of taking your money. His products are not designed to improve the quality of life for your workforce nor to add to your company’s bottom line.

Knowledgeable corporations and the U.S. Department of Defense require either the Reading Easiness test or the Grade Level test before purchasing any written training material. So should you!

More on Friday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning