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Clear writing and testability

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 15:23:55 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A1DFB08@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Gregg said on this afternoon's joint call with ATAG that "Write clearly"
isn't testable.  I beg to differ. Clarity isn't *machine-testable.(
However, it *is* possible to achieve a high degree of inter-rater
reliability for written work.  In the US, the Educational Testing
Service (ETS) trains teams of people to score high-stakes examinations
that can determine whether students are or are not admitted to
university.  These evaluators read and score student essays, and achieve
enough inter-rater reliability for their results to be accepted by many
coleges and universities.  Teachers using the Learning Record (a
portfolio-based learning assessment tool) achieve inter-rater
reliability ratings of 89% last time I heard the statistics.  
 
The key is in Gregg's phrase about raters "who know what they're talking
about."  I would argue that it's possible to train people to read Web
content and make informed judgments about its clarity.
 
John
 


"Good design is accessible design." 
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University of Texas at Austin
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email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
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Received on Friday, 24 October 2003 16:31:05 GMT

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