The stated purpose of the RICA test is relatively straightforward. Its aim is to ensure that those pursuing multiple subject and special education teaching credentials in California have the skills and broad knowledge needed to provide effective reading instruction. In order to teach reading skills to students, teachers need to conduct ongoing assessments, possess knowledge regarding reading standards for various grades, develop a complete curriculum for reading, and be attentive to students’ needs. To determine whether candidates are competent in each of these areas, the RICA test is designed to cover five domains that encompass numerous competencies. These domains are:
Domain 1 – Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment: To excel on this portion of the test, candidates must have a thorough understanding of planning, organization, and management strategies for delivering standards-based reading. Educators must also be knowledgeable about the reasons why reading assessments are conducted and the best ways to perform them.
Domain 2 – Word Analysis: For this domain of the RICA test, candidates must demonstrate awareness of the role that student knowledge of phonemes, phonics, print concepts, and letters plays in reading development. Teachers must also know how to develop this knowledge.
Domain 3 – Fluency: Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of the importance of fluency and how to develop it.
Domain 4 – Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge: Candidates must understand the importance of each of these topics and how to help students develop skills relevant to them.
Domain 5 – Comprehension: Candidates must possess an understanding of the different factors that affect reading comprehension. Those completing a written RICA test will also be asked to demonstrate their understanding of strategies to promote comprehension of different types of texts.