New Dale-Chall Score
The New Dale-Chall Score is most commonly known as a diagnostic for fourth-grade readers. But it can actually be used by older people and for different industries.
This formula was initially developed in the 1940s by Edgar Dale, a college professor of education and expert in communications, and Jeanne Chall, founder and former director of the Harvard Reading Laboratory and a well-known consultant to shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company.
The New Dale-Chall Readability Formula is a revised version and was inspired by the Flesch Reading Ease formula.
The original Dale-Chall Score measures your text against a list of words that are familiar to fourth-grade students and younger. The idea is that familiarity with a specific word affects the text’s readability. The more words found in the list, the more readable the text would be. The first Dale-Chall word list consisted of about 700 words.
The Dale-Chall test was revised in 1995, and its word count improved to about 3000 words, which now includes verbs and nouns, plurality, and tense. This revision further enhances the capability of the New Dale-Chall Score to assess texts accurately.
Dale-Chall Readability Formula
So how do you use this readability test? And what is the optimum grade level for Dale-Chall readability? Like the Flesch Reading Ease, you would want a lower score, which means it's readable for more people. However, computing for your readability level is a bit more complicated and time-consuming.
To get your Reading Grade (RG), you will need to calculate the Percentage of Difficult Words (PDW) and Average Sentence Length (ASL). Difficult words are words that do not appear on the New Dale-Chall word list.
You will need to use this formula:
RG = 0.1579 x (PDW) + 0.0946 x (ASL)
But if your PDW is more than 5%, you will need to get your Adjusted Score (AS). This is the formula you need to use:
AS = RG = 3.6365, otherwise AS = RG
As a guide, an AS that is 4.9 and below means a reading grade level is Grade 4 and below. Likewise, an AS that is 9.0 to 9.9 means a reading grade equivalent to college levels.
As you can see, the New Dale-Chall Score can be a bit more challenging to do manually. It’s a good thing, then, that you can use a Dale-Chall Readability Calculator to compute for you.
|New Dale-Chall Score||School Level||Comprehension|
|4.9 or lower||4th Grade and below||Very easy to read|
|5.0-5.9||5th & 6th Grade||Easy to read|
|6.0-6.9||7th & 8th Grade||Conversational English|
|7.0-7.9||9th & 10th Grade||Conversational English|
|8.0-8.9||11th & 12th Grade||Fairly difficult to read|
|9.0-9.9||College||Difficult to read|
|10.0+||College Graduate||Very difficult to read|
The New Dale-Chall Score is the most suitable for educational purposes, specifically at the fourth-grade level. It helps teachers gauge which materials to use for class. But that’s just one of its many uses.
The New Dale-Chall Score is also used by many through the idea that readability is vital to accessibility. It means for people to understand your message, they will need to be familiar with the words you use. So guidelines are better implemented if even young children can comprehend it easily. This is also the same case for people with different learning needs.
So you can use the New Dale-Chall Score to assess government guidelines, social media guidelines, blog posts, novels, and many more.
How to Improve Score
One easy but time-consuming way is to get a copy of the revised Dale-Chall word list and familiarize yourself with the 3000 words there. This way, you can keep your readability level in the grade you want.
You can also use software that can instantly calculate your reading level and then edit your text accordingly.
But the easiest way to improve your score is to write simply. No complex sentences or big words. Just use the words that most people use in daily conversations, and you’ll be good to go.
Dale-Chall Word List
a | able | aboard | about | above | absent | accept | accident | account | ache | aching | acorn | acre | across | act | acts | add | address | admire | adventure | afar | afraid | after | afternoon | afterward | afterwards | again | against | age | aged | ago | agree | ah | ahead | aid | aim | air | airfield | airplane | airport | airship | airy | alarm | alike | alive | all | alley | alligator | allow | almost | alone | along | aloud | already | also | always | am | America | American | among | amount | an | and | angel | anger | angry | animal | another | answer | ant | any | anybody | anyhow | anyone | anything | anyway | anywhere | apart | apartment | ape | apiece | appear | apple | April | apron | are | aren't | arise | arithmetic | arm | armful | army | arose | around | arrange | arrive | arrived | arrow | art | artist | as | ash | ashes | aside | ask | asleep | at | ate | attack | attend | attention | August | aunt | author | auto | automobile | autumn | avenue | awake | awaken | away | awful | awfully | awhile | ax | axe
baa | babe | babies | back | background | backward | backwards | bacon | bad | badge | badly | bag | bake | baker | bakery | baking | ball | balloon | banana | band | bandage | bang | banjo | bank | banker | bar | barber | bare | barefoot | barely | bark | barn | barrel | base | baseball | basement | basket | bat | batch | bath | bathe | bathing | bathroom | bathtub | battle | battleship | bay | be | beach | bead | beam | bean | bear | beard | beast | beat | beating | beautiful | beautify | beauty | became | because | become | becoming | bed | bedbug | bedroom | bedspread | bedtime | bee | beech | beef | beefsteak | beehive | been | beer | beet | before | beg | began | beggar | begged | begin | beginning | begun | behave | behind | being | believe | bell | belong | below | belt | bench | bend | beneath | bent | berries | berry | beside | besides | best | bet | better | between | bib | bible | bicycle | bid | big | bigger | bill | billboard | bin | bind | bird | birth | birthday | biscuit | bit | bite | biting | bitter | black | blackberry | blackbird | blackboard | blackness | blacksmith | blame | blank | blanket | blast | blaze | bleed | bless | blessing | blew | blind | blindfold | blinds | block | blood | bloom | blossom | blot | blow | blue | blueberry | bluebird | blush | board | boast | boat | bob | bobwhite | bodies | body | boil | boiler | bold | bone | bonnet | boo | book | bookcase | bookkeeper | boom | boot | born | borrow | boss | both | bother | bottle | bottom | bought | bounce | bow | bowl | bow-wow | box | boxcar | boxer | boxes | boy | boyhood | bracelet | brain | brake | bran | branch | brass | brave | bread | break | breakfast | breast | breath | breathe | breeze | brick | bride | bridge | bright | brightness | bring | broad | broadcast | broke | broken | brook | broom | brother | brought | brown | brush | bubble | bucket | buckle | bud | buffalo | bug | buggy | build | building | built | bulb | bull | bullet | bum | bumblebee | bump | bun | bunch | bundle | bunny | burn | burst | bury | bus | bush | bushel | business | busy | but | butcher | butt | butter | buttercup | butterfly | buttermilk | butterscotch | button | buttonhole | buy | buzz | by | bye
cab | cabbage | cabin | cabinet | cackle | cage | cake | calendar | calf | call | caller | calling | came | camel | camp | campfire | can | canal | canary | candle | candlestick | candy | cane | cannon | cannot | canoe | can't | canyon | cap | cape | capital | captain | car | card | cardboard | care | careful | careless | carelessness | carload | carpenter | carpet | carriage | carrot | carry | cart | carve | case | cash | cashier | castle | cat | catbird | catch | catcher | caterpillar | catfish | catsup | cattle | caught | cause | cave | ceiling | cell | cellar | cent | center | cereal | certain | certainly | chain | chair | chalk | champion | chance | change | chap | charge | charm | chart | chase | chatter | cheap | cheat | check | checkers | cheek | cheer | cheese | cherry | chest | chew | chick | chicken | chief | child | childhood | children | chill | chilly | chimney | chin | china | chip | chipmunk | chocolate | choice | choose | chop | chorus | chose | chosen | christen | Christmas | church | churn | cigarette | circle | circus | citizen | city | clang | clap | class | classmate | classroom | claw | clay | clean | cleaner | clear | clerk | clever | click | cliff | climb | clip | cloak | clock | close | closet | cloth | clothes | clothing | cloud | cloudy | clover | clown | club | cluck | clump | coach | coal | coast | coat | cob | cobbler | cocoa | coconut | cocoon | cod | codfish | coffee | coffeepot | coin | cold | collar | college | color | colored | colt | column | comb | come | comfort | comic | coming | company | compare | conductor | cone | connect | coo | cook | cooked | cooking | cookie | cookies | cool | cooler | coop | copper | copy | cord | cork | corn | corner | correct | cost | cot | cottage | cotton | couch | cough | could | couldn't | count | counter | country | county | course | court | cousin | cover | cow | coward | cowardly | cowboy | cozy | crab | crack | cracker | cradle | cramps | cranberry | crank | cranky | crash | crawl | crazy | cream | creamy | creek | creep | crept | cried | croak | crook | crooked | crop | cross | crossing | cross-eyed | crow | crowd | crowded | crown | cruel | crumb | crumble | crush | crust | cry | cries | cub | cuff | cup | cuff | cup | cupboard | cupful | cure | curl | curly | curtain | curve | cushion | custard | customer | cut | cute | cutting
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