University Accountancy faculty need criteria to assist with the selection of textbooks, to ensure that the subject matter is congruent with the level at which students are taught. Readability is one such criterion. The purpose of this study is to assess the readability of two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks, using three different readability evaluation methods.
The sample for the study included 281 Accounting students from an Eastern seaboard university. Each student was requested to complete two passages – one from a Management Accounting textbook and one from a Financial Management textbook. The Gunning Fog Index, Flesch Reading Ease and Cloze Procedure readability evaluation methods were used to measure readability.
The findings suggest varying levels of readability among the textbooks. Results from the Cloze Procedure reveal that three of the four textbooks were being read at the Frustration Level and the fourth marginally above the Frustration Level. The readability formulae returned varying results demonstrating that some of the textbooks were at a level that the students ought to be able to read.
Only two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks of many published were assessed, and only three readability evaluation methods were used.
The findings have implications for university faculty, authors, publishers, editors and students.
The readability of Managerial Accounting and Financial Management textbooks used at South African universities, has received scant attention in the literature. The analysis of the readability of the accounting textbooks, presents a synthesis that adds important knowledge in this under‐researched topic.
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