Readability of CAHPS 2.0 Child and Adult Core Surveys

Published in: Seventh Conference on Health Survey Research Methods / Edited by Marcie L. Lynamon and Richard A. Kulka (Hyattsville, Maryland: DHHS Publication, 2001), no. (PHS) 01-1013, p. 83-90

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2001

by Leo S. Morales, Beverly Weidmer-Ocampo, Ron D. Hays

An assessment of the readability of the English and Spanish versions of the surveys developed for the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS, version 2.0) suggests that these instruments require a seventh-grade reading level for adequate comprehension. The readability formulas used to assess the surveys were: the Fry Readability Graph (English and Spanish versions), the FOG Index, the SMOG grading formula, and the Flesch Reading Ease Score, supplemented with counts of a variety of syntactic and semantic factors. CONCLUSION: The reading level required by the CAHPS surveys for full comprehension may be appropriate for commercially insured populations, but it exceeds the reading ability of more than 50% of welfare recipients. Finding a balance between collecting important information and maintaining a reasonable level of survey readability will be an important consideration as future versions of the CAHPS surveys are developed.

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