Assigning Grade Levels to Textbooks: Is it just Readability?

David F. Dufty, Arthur C. Graesser, Max Louwerse, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


We evaluated the effectiveness of new indices of text cohesion to determine the appropriate human assigned grade level of a text. In particular, we investigated the efficacy of automated text indices produced by the online tool Coh-
Metrix in predicting the grade level assigned by publishers to their own textbooks. To do this, we sampled 311 school textbooks from a large database, choosing roughly equal numbers of science, narrative, and social science texts.
Publisher-assigned grade levels were found to be moderately predictable by traditional approaches such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Prediction of grade level was significantly improved by the inclusion of cohesion indices
obtained by Coh-Metrix. Implications for the improvement of textbook selection are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsR. Sun, N. Miyake
Place of PublicationMahwah, NJ
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society - Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 26 Jul 200629 Jul 2006
Conference number: 28


Conference28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Abbreviated titleCogSci 2006


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