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Measuring the reading complexity and oral comprehension of Canadian youth waiver forms

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Crime and Delinquency
Issue number6
Volume61
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)798-828
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date31/08/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The reading complexity of a sample of Canadian police youth waiver forms was assessed, and the oral comprehension of a waiver form was examined. In Study 1, the complexity of 31 unique waiver forms was assessed using five readability measures (i.e., waiver length, Flesch–Kincaid grade level, Grammatik sentence complexity, word difficulty, and word frequency). Results showed that the waivers are lengthy, are written at a relatively high grade level, contain complex sentences, and contain difficult and infrequent words. In Study 2, high school students (N = 32) were presented orally with one youth waiver form and asked to explain its meaning. Results showed that participants understood approximately 40% of the information contained in the waiver form. The likelihood of the rights of Canadian youths being protected and the need to create a standardized and comprehensible waiver form are discussed.