Using the Critical Reading Inventory (CRI 3-E)

The electronic edition of the Critical Reading Inventory (CRI 3-E) continues the fundamentally different approach to the assessment of reading comprehension exemplified in the original CRI.  Classroom research and assessment analyses suggest that many educators and assessment specialists believe that comprehension involves the ability to faithfully reproduce the ideas conveyed by a writer.  We take the position that comprehension also includes the ability to react thoughtfully to ideas in text, to consider their significance, and to use them as the basis for logical conclusions.  To that end, nearly 60% of the comprehension items you will find in the CRI require readers to respond thoughtfully to the ideas they have encountered.  As a consequence, CRI users are able to distinguish readers who can simply recall what they have read from readers who are also able to think about it.  This type of analysis also enable educators to target instruction to meet the varying needs of their students.

Automated Scoring and Interpretation Interview (ASII)

Mindful of the demands on time that informal assessment can make of teaching professionals, we set out to simplify the process as much as possible.  Our aim was to remove much of the time-consuming drudgery associated with the scoring, calculating and reporting of the results of an informal reading inventory.  Our solution is the Automated Scoring and Interpretation Interview (ASII).  Users who have completed the assessment and scoring of the CRI can access the ASII and click on appropriate boxes to input the number of word list miscues, the oral reading miscues, and the comprehension items for which the reader has received full or partial credit.  The ASII will automatically calculate the percentage scores for the Word Lists, the RAI and MMI for each passage read aloud, and the oral, silent and/or average comprehension item scores at each level.  The tool will further break down comprehension performance to indicate Text-Based, Inferential and Critical Response scores.  The user of the ASII can also easily access the Automated Retelling Scoring tool described above from within the program.  

At the conclusion of the interview, the ASII will respond with a completed and professionally formatted Recapitulation Record that can be printed and used as part of a student’s academic records.  The ASII will also calculate and print a Level One Analysis Worksheet which juxtaposes key information from the Recapitulation Record and facilitates the interpretation of a child’s reading performance.  In previous editions of the CRI, users were restricted to a downloaded version of the ASII that functioned only on Windows-based computers.  CRI 3-E subscribers will have access to a web-based version of the ASII which will work on any device with Internet access.

Telephone Access

CRI 3-E subscribers will have access to a telephone hotline number which will allow them to contact one of the authors or publishers of the CRI 3-E with technical or user-related questions.  We welcome the opportunity to gather feedback about the CRI 3-E and its strengths and weaknesses, in anticipation of its continued development as a valuable assessment tool.


Valuable class time can often be consumed by the task of teaching users how to score student responses reliably and consistently.  We would certainly never argue that this kind of instruction is unimportant, but it can expend a significant amount of class time that could be used for more crucial issues such as interpretation of results and instructional planning based on those results.  We have attempted to address this problem by developing detailed tutorials which provide users with extensive practice in the scoring of miscues, retellings and comprehension items.  Each tutorial is divided into sections to allow users to proceed at their own pace.  

The Miscue Tutorial will present the user with a record of a child’s oral reading with miscues noted using the system as explained and illustrated in the CRI II text.  The user must interpret the miscue as either maintaining or violating the meaning and syntax of language.  Answers will be submitted in a multiple choice format and the program will respond with the correct response and explanatory feedback after each answer.  
The Retelling Tutorial will present users with a student retelling and ask them to judge whether each of the text elements included in the Retelling Rubric is present, partially present or absent in the student’s retelling.  It will then ask the user to calculate the retelling score or submit the results to the Automated Retelling Scoring tool.  The program will respond with the correct answer and instructive feedback after each user response.
The Comprehension Item Scoring Tutorial will present the user with actual student responses to CRI II items and ask them to score the response as meriting Full, Partial or No Credit.  The tutorial will include a sample of responses to Text-Based, Inferential and Critical Response items at three different grade levels, representative of the range of levels that can be tested on the CRI II.  Once again, the program will respond with the correct answer and a detailed explanation of the scoring of each item included in the tutorial.

All 3 Tutorials can be accessed through the CRI 3-E web site.

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