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The Flesch-Kincaid (F-K) Reading Grade Level (RGL) was developed under contract to the United States Navy in 1975 by J. Peter Kincaid and his team[1]. Other related US Navy research directed by Kincaid delved into high tech education (for example, the electronic authoring and delivery of technical information)[2]; usefulness of the Flesch-Kincaid readability formula[3]; computer aids for editing tests[4]; illustrated formats to teach procedures[5]; and the Computer Readability Editing System (CRES)[6].

The F-K RGL formula was first used by the US Army for assessing the difficulty of technical manuals in 1978[citation needed] and soon after was incorperated into a Department of Defense military standard [7]. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania was the first state in the US to require that automobile insurance policies be written at no higher than a "ninth-grade level" of reading difficulty, as measure by the RGL formula. This is now a common requirement in many other states and for other legal documents such as insurance policies[3]. Today the F-K RGL formula is ubiquitous, and variations of the formula are used with more than a dozen languages. Microsoft Word still uses many of the style and grammar rules first developed for the CRES program[citation needed].


  1. ^ Kincaid, J. P.; et al. (1975-02). "Derivation Of New Readability Formulas (Automated Readability Index, Fog Count And Flesch Reading Ease Formula) For Navy Enlisted Personnel". Chief of Naval Technical Training: Naval Air Station Memphis. Retrieved 2011-06-03.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Kincaid JP, Braby R, Mears J (1988). "Electronic authoring and delivery of technical information". Journal of Instructional Development. 11: 8–13. 
  3. ^ a b McClure G (1987). "Readability formulas: Useful or useless. (an interview with J. Peter Kincaid.)". IEEE Transactions on Professional Communications. 30: 12–15. 
  4. ^ Kincaid JP, Braby R, Wulfeck WH II (1983). "Computer aids for editing tests". Educational Technology. 23: 29–33. 
  5. ^ Braby R, Kincaid JP, Scott P, McDaniel W (1982). "Illustrated formats to teach procedures". IEEE Transactions on Professional Communications. 25: 61–66. 
  6. ^ Kincaid JP, Aagard JA, O'Hara JW, Cottrell LK (1981). "Computer Readability Editing System". IEEE Transactions on Professional Communications. 24 (1): 38–42. 
  7. ^ MIL-M-38784B. (1983-04-16). "Manuals, Technical: General Style And Format Requirements". Retrieved 2011-06-04. 

Further references[edit]

  • Flesch R (1948). "A new readability yardstick". Journal of Applied Psychology. 32: 221–233. 
  • Farr JN, Jenkins JJ, Paterson DG (1951). "Simplification of Flesch Reading Ease Formula". Journal of Applied Psychology. 35 (5): 333–337.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)