So my latest project was a focus on the utilisation of the Readability command in StringTools, and was used to determine how "readable", or easy to understand, some of the past presidents were.
This program takes the Farewell Addresses of some of the past presidents (seen here), and using the Readability command included in the StringTools package, calculates the readability of the various Addresses using multiple methods, as will be outlined below. It then takes the different scores, and plots them on a heat map, to show how each president compares to one another.
- SMOG method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMOG. This method calculates its score based on the number of words of 3 syllables or greater included in the passage, and outputs a value which is the grade in which you should be able to read it.
- Gunning Fog method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunning_fog_index
This method uses the same idea as the SMOG method, but uses a different formula to calculate its score.
- FRES method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch%E2%80%93Kincaid_readability_tests#Flesch_reading_ease
This method uses total syllables and total words to calculate a value, where the lower the number, the harder it is to read the passage. Due to this, it has been multiplied by -1 to better show values on the heat map.
- FKGLF method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch%E2%80%93Kincaid_readability_tests#Flesch.E2.80.93Kincaid_grade_level
This method is more or less the same as FRES, but uses a different scale, and like the SMOG method and Gunning Fog method, uses a lower score to represent better readability.
- ARI method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_readability_index
This method uses number of characters and words, which translates to basing the score based on the number of longer words used.
- Coleman-Lau Index: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleman%E2%80%93Liau_index
This method uses the number of characters per 100 words, and number of sentences per 100 words to calculate its score.
As we can see from the heat map, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan seem to be the most readable overall, throughout all the methods. Whether this is a good thing or not, is really up to your interpretation. Is using bigger words a bad thing?
George Washington and Andrew Jackson have the worst readabiltiy scores, although this is probably in part due to the era of the addresses, and the change in language we've had since then.
Download the application here: https://www.maplesoft.com/applications/view.aspx?SID=154353