New way to measure difficulty of texts

Pearson today announced the creation of the Pearson Reading Maturity Metric to measure the reading difficulty of texts. The new computer-based technology measures how close an individual students' reading abilities are to what they will need to succeed in college and careers.

Traditional and current readability formulas rely on only a few, simple superficial measures, such as the average number of words in sentences and how frequently words are encountered in general or educational reading. Landauer and other scientists at Pearson used intensive computer analyses to identify more fundamental text features that contribute to text complexity. More importantly, Pearson developed an artificial intelligence technology that estimates how much reading of various kinds and in what order a person must have accomplished to understand a particular text.

The development of this new text complexity measure is detailed in a white paper, “Pearson’s Text Complexity Measure," authored by Landauer and available at