In three articles I have written for Research Magazine in the past two years, I have referenced “Readability Statistics,” a utility buried deep in Microsoft Word and Outlook. It is the best tool I know to verify someone can read, and understand, your letters, e-mails, blog posts and proposals.
Just recently, I decided to read at least some of the new DOL regulations that will, if they stand up to court tests, transform this industry. A quick Google search put me on the DOL website.
I could barely read even the first few paragraphs, so I decided to check on the “readability” of the DOL regs.
I copied several pages of text form the website, dropped it into a MS Word doc, and fired up Readability Statistics. Here’s what I found:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 21.7
In Readability Statistics, grade level is the number of years of education one should have to understand a document. For the DOL regs, you would require 12 years for high school graduation, four years of college, and another 7.1 years of graduate school.
That’s probably two PhDs! Sadly, my education was only through 2½ years of graduate school. No wonder I was struggling so much.
Flesch Reading Ease: 0.9
“Reading Ease” is a scale of 1 to 100. A comic book has a Reading Ease score of 99. The Wall Street Journal is about 45. An auto insurance policy is about 10.
And this monster has a reading ease score of 0.9, the worst reading ease score I have ever seen.
Don’t feel bad if you want to read the regs. Just enroll in graduate school for another six years, and I am sure you can breeze right through them.