2012 Plain Writing Report Card

The Plain Language Report Card grades US federal agencies on how well they are meeting the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The report card was released a year from the date when the first requirement of the Plain Writing Act went into effect–July 2011.

The Center gave 12 government agencies two grades, for how well they followed the requirements of the Act, and how well they followed the “spirit” of the act. Ultimately, the Act asks government agencies to take steps to assure that they are communicating clearly with businesses, consumers and other stakeholders.

Read the press release announcing the report card.

Plain language report card

How the scores were determined

The first score is based on the specific requirements in the Plain Writing Act and was determined by the Center for Plain Language. The highest score possible is 100. They include:

  • have they appointed a senior official,
  • created an implementation plan, filed a compliance report,
  • created a plain language page on their website that links from their home page,
  • provided a mechanism for public feedback,
  • educated employees in plain language, and
  • used plain language in documents.

The second score identifies elements that reflect whether agencies are undertaking a variety of supporting activities addressing the “spirit” of the Act. The highest score possible is 200. For the second score, the Center worked with PLAIN, the federal plain language group.

Reports for individual agencies

To download the detailed report cards, right click and select “Download linked file” (or similar language, depending on your browser).

Download all Plain Language Report Cards 2012 (ZIP file, 549K)

Report Cards for Individual Agencies

Basic Requirements

(out of 100)

Supporting Activities

(out of 200)

Report Card

(All files are DOCX 66K)

Agriculture (USDA) A (93) B (148) USDA report card
Defense (DOD) B (80) D (46) DOD report card
Homeland Security (DHS) D (36) D (45) DHS report card
Justice (DOJ) C (65) D (61) DOJ report card
Labor (DOL) B (80) F (29) DOL report card
Transportation (DOT) C (64) F (30) DOT report card
Environmental Protection (EPA) C (65) F (20) EPA report card
Health & Human Services (HHS) C (72) B (130) HHS report card
National Archives (NARA) B (80) C (91) NARA report card
Small Business (SBA) C (70) C (88) SBA report card
Social Security (SSA) C (65) C (118) SSA report card
Veterans (VA) F (10) F (0) VA report card

Center for Plain Language (centerforplainlanguage.org)


Printed April 19, 2014


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: