CARI is a set of measures and procedures for assessing the
literacy skills of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.

CARI (DIBELS 7-9) Research Release

The authors of DIBELS® at Dynamic Measurement Group are pleased to announce the availability of a research version of CARI (DIBELS 7-9) to research partners for the
2018-2019 school year.

For details on the CARI Research Release, read our announcement.


CARI stands for Content Area Reading Indicators and is a formative assessment for 7th to 9th grade students. The CARI is directly aligned with the Common Core Standards in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies and includes a Maze comprehension, a Silent Reading comprehension, and an Oral Reading comprehension measure. Each measure is arranged in triads, which include one science passage, one social studies passage, and one prose passage.

Maze is a group-administered measure that assesses general reading comprehension. During a Maze task, the student is presented with a reading passage in which some words are replaced by a multiple choice box that includes the original word and two distractors. The student reads the passage silently and selects the word in each box that best fits the meaning of the sentence. A Maze triad of passages takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and approximately 5-7 minutes per student for teachers to score.

The Silent Reading (SR) comprehension portion of the CARI is a group-administered measure that assesses vocabulary, sentence comprehension (passage details), and inference. Students are given up to 45 minutes to read three passages and answer 15 questions about each passage. Silent Reading is quickly scored with an answer key.

The Oral Reading (OR) portion of the CARI is an individually administered measure that assesses oral reading fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. During an OR task, the student is given 90 seconds to read each passage out loud. At the end of 90 seconds, a brief comprehension component is administered. An OR triad of passages takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The guidelines for administering CARI include gating procedures so that the group-administered, less time-intensive components are given to more students while the individually administered, more time-intensive components are administered to fewer students, on an as-needed basis.

CARI (DIBELS 7-9) assessments are:

  • brief
  • efficient
  • group administered for benchmarking
  • individually administered for additional assessment
  • standardized
  • formative

Why Use CARI?

The purposes of CARI are to:

  • identify students who may be at risk for reading difficulties (universal screening);
  • help teachers identify areas to target Common Core Standards of instructional support;
  • monitor at-risk students while they receive additional, targeted instruction; and
  • examine the effectiveness of a school’s system of instructional supports.

The advantages of CARI passages and comprehension assessments are:

  • CARI has been specifically designed to be used within a problem-solving, outcomes-driven model of decision-making and response to intervention.
  • The CARI measures are reliable and valid.

How to Get CARI

CARI is currently available as a research release product.

For more details, read our announcement.

CARI Resources

CARI Fact Sheet
A printer-friendly overview of CARI, including samples of the measures.