Field Journals

From: Chris Tanski <>
Subject: Field Journals
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 10:23:21 -0500


I'm in the process of putting together a plan for evaluating field
journals. What I'd like to do is be able to give you, the teachers, a
way of looking at a field journal and determining if it is appropriate
for use with your class. I'd like to try and help you avoid using an
elementary-level field journal with your high school class or vice

I'm not trying to provide an in-depth analysis of each journal,
something that can be done only by a qualified reviewer, not software.
What I am trying to do is use some simple algorithms that measure
readability based on sentence length, word structure, word length, etc.
to generate some quick numbers.

The software I'm using to review each field journal gives four numbers
to summarize the "level" of a journal:

Gunning Fog Index - The Fog Index analyzes written material to see how
easy it is to read and understand. The "ideal" Fog Index level is 7 or
8. A level above 12 indicates the writing sample is too hard for most
people to read.

Flesch Reading Ease - Based on sentence length - - scores ranging in the
40s are "fairly difficult," 50s are "fairly easy," and the 60s and 70s
are "easy."

Flesch - Kincaid Grade Level - (words per sentence X .4) + (syllables
per word X 12) - 16 = FKGL

Flesch Grade Level - No information available on this test.

I'd like your thoughts on which number would be most useful to help you
select field journals.  Please feel free to use this list to voice your
opinion about which of these four standards you feel best represents a
good evaluator.


Chris Tanski
NASA's Quest Project

Internet Resource Specialist, NASA's Quest Project
Manager, GOLF-L, BICYCLE and SKI-L Internet Discussion Lists