Continuing a series of reviews on readability assessment, I would like to describe a tool which is close to what I intend to do. It is named DeLite and is named a ‘readability checker’. It has been developed at the IICS research center of the FernUniversität Hagen.
From my point of view, its main feature is that it has not been made publicly available, it is based on software one has to buy and I did not manage to find even a demo version, although they claim to have been publicly (i.e. EU-)funded. Thus, my description is based on what its designers mention in the articles quoted below.
The article by Glöckner et al. (2006) offers a description of the fundamentals of the software, as well as an interesting summary of research on readability. They depict the ‘classical’ pattern used to come to a readability formula :
- ‘select elements in a text that are related to readability’,
- then ‘correlate element occurrences with text readability (measured by established comprehension tests)’,
- and finally ‘combine the variables into a regression equation’ (p. 32).
This is the approach that led to a preponderance of criteria like word and sentence length, because they …more ...