This content area reading inventory (CARI) is a great way for me as a teacher to understand what my students know and what they are capable of in their reading strategies. It has a section for the students’ prior knowledge of the subject, their metacognitive skills, how they decode the text, and if they understand the context of which the text is written. In the CARI students read a section of text chosen by the teacher. After reading the text, the students answer 20-25 questions on what they just read. These questions determine the skills and weaknesses each student has and shows what I can build my lessons off of. Answers to each questions are open ended so not every answer is going to be 100% right or wrong, but it will give me an excellent example of what each student is thinking while they answer the questions. There is a second copy of the CARI that has my expected answers in italics. This is a great tool to have incase someone else ends up being the one conducting the activity. They will then know what to expect and can judge each student accordingly. Also, there are going to be answers that students come up with that I may not have thought of when creating this form, it does not mean they are wrong and if I believe their answer is a quality one I am able to add it to the second copy in italics for future use.
This artifact addresses two of the standards of effective practice: 4 (Instructional Strategies) and 7(Planning Instruction). This artifact meets standard 4 by getting students to use critical thinking when answering questions and also by asking questions that require the students to think about how they actually came to their conclusions. It also meets standard 7 because I am able to take the results from this activity and create a lesson from it. After conducting this activity with the class, the results will show what the students know, what they kind of know, and what really needs to be worked on.
When starting new units this will be a very useful tool for me. After finding out the strengths and the weaknesses of each student I know exactly where to focus my attention when going over the real content of the course. This is an activity that can be used for every lesson, and can also be used as a pre-test/post-test to show students how much more they learned after going through the lessons of the unit.
If I could change one thing about this artifact it would be the data collection forms. I would try and make them a bit more comprehensive and not just have them be boring tables with either a plus or a minus for a quality or poor answer. There needs to be a grey area where I am able to leave comments on what was good about a certain response and what needed work. In the future I do plan on creating a form that allows me to add comments and not make the data collection so black and white.