Readability

The students of the College of Micronesia-FSM are predominantly speakers of English as a second language. The readability of textbooks is always a concern when the reader is working in a second language. Although the curriculum committee has discussed including readability metrics of required textbooks on course outlines, no decision has been made. I continue to bear in mind the readability issue and keep an eye on the reading level of the three texts I use in my courses.

I used The Readability Test Tool, pasting in multiple paragraphs of text from middle sections of the text using the "Test by Direct Input." The texts themselves proved too long for the tool to digest.

The first text is the SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany text which averaged at the eleventh grade.


The eleventh grade reading level is somewhat of a concern for me as ethnobotany can have first term freshmen in the class. The course structure, however, is heavily focused on experiential activities that support the information in the text. Rather than being a course driven by content in the textbook, the textbook provides supporting and supplemental information to classroom activities. Thus the course should help the students comprehend the text.

The second text is that which supports SC 130 Physical science. The physical science text rated at a ninth grade level average. To the extent that I can do so, ninth to tenth grade is the reading level target for these texts.


The physical science text is at an appropriate grade level for the students who are in the course.

The MS 150 Statistics text averaged at the eleventh grade level.


Although I would have been happier with tenth grade reading levels, MS 150 is populated by sophomores at the college and freshmen who placed highly in mathematics. Eleventh grade should be comprehensible to these students.

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