Measuring the Readability of Training Materials by the PLATO IV Computer-Based Instructional System,
SCHOOL OF APPLIED AEROSPACE SCIENCES CHANUTE AFB IL
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This report discusses an experiment in which the PLATO IV computer-based instructional system was programmed to measure the reading grade levels of written training materials. The lesson in the PLATO system that performs this task is called PIRL, which stands for PLATO Indicated Reading Level. In this Air Force experiment, samples of technical training materials from five different career fields were checked for their grade level by 21 technical writers using the fog count system. The same samples were then checked by nine educationtraining specialists using the Flesch system. The samples were then typed into the PLATO IV system by six clerktypists and then by seven PLATO IV authors. While the results showed some variation in grade levels within all four groups, the mean grade levels of each sample for all groups were quite close. An analysis of variance of the all-sample means of the four groups indicates no statistically significant difference among them. It is concluded that the PLATO IV lesson PIRL is an easily used and valid means for determining and expressing the difficulty level of written materials as a grade level.
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