The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship


The purpose of this study is to examine the readability levels of the state departments of education guidance documents regarding COVID-19 protocols for families of students receiving special education services. The authors searched the 50 states and the District of Columbia’s departments of education websites for their COVID-19, special education, parental guidance documents for the 2020-2021 school year. Parental guidance documents were available from 90% (46/51) of the department of education websites with 61% (31/51) of those documents specifically designed for parents of children receiving special education services. The researchers used the Flesch Reading Ease (FRES) to analyze the reading level of the 31 documents that the departments of education websites created for families of individuals receiving special education services. The FRES score was 43.05, indicating that the average reading difficulty was “difficult” with a “college reading level.” The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL) average score for the reviewed documents revealed an average U.S. grade level of 12.34. Thus, documents produced during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly exceeded the appropriate reading level recommended by the current research (Nagro & Stein, 2016). To improve communication and provide caregivers with the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding their children’s educational need during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential for parental guidance documents to be written at lower reading levels to accommodate the general population.