Supporting Literacy within Computing

The exercises on have been designed to help with the promotion of literacy within the computing curriculum.

Each exercise begins with a short introduction to the topic in question. The material is presented in an engaging manner with appropriate illustrations.

Readability Scores

The introductory material in each exercise has been tested for readability using the Flesch and Kincaid readability functions. The Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for each exercise are given here. The equivalent NC Year can be derived by adding one to the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

The readability data provide a good starting point in evaluating the suitability of the material for particular teaching groups. The data should also help colleagues to think about how the material might be used to encourage students to participate in class reading activities.


Some of the introductory material is very short and does not provide sufficient text for the readability functions to work effectively. It is also worth remembering that readability functions are unlikely to be able to encompass all of the factors which contribute to meaning and comprehension.

One or two exercises appear to have an unusually high readability score. This is generally due to the unavoidable inclusion of words, which have three or more syllables. For example, the phrase "Information Technology" has eight syllables. Its repeated use in a piece of text will inevitably raise the readability score of that text. However, if an exercise is about "Information Technology", then it is impossible not to use this phrase. A score may be further compounded if a word or phrase is being repeated deliberately in order to reinforce understanding.

Generally speaking, if in doubt about setting an exercise for homework for a particular teaching group, colleagues will find it useful to ensure that students have had an opportunity to review the exercise as a class activity. This might be done, for example, in a plenary session.