I support SB 614--Eliminate the RICA

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By signing this petition, I am stating that I support SB 614, a bill to eliminate the outdated RICA (Reading Instruction Competency Assessment) as a requirement for earning a California Teaching Credential. 

The RICA is unnecessary because there is a rigorous and comprehensive accountability system in place to ensure that teachers are prepared to teach reading and literacy skills to children in California. Some highlights include:

  • Over 600 hours of supervised teaching experience, with coaching and evaluation by experienced mentor teachers
  • Successfully passing state-adopted teaching performance assessments, in which teachers plan and teach a series of literacy lessons, video tape their instruction, assess student performance, write structured reflections, and submit this authentic assessment for scoring by trained, calibrated scorers
  • Preparation by a credential program that is approved by a rigorous accreditation process by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which ensures extensive coursework aligned with current CA state standards and research based practices in teaching reading

The RICA exam is serving as an unnecessary barrier to highly qualified teachers who are ready to give California students an excellent education. The test has serious issues with:

1. Content: The current RICA exam, as written, tests students on 1997 English Language Arts Standards; as teacher educators, we teach our candidates to implement 2012 California Common Core Standards and the ELA/ELD framework. The RICA test does not reflect current research and instructional best practices in literacy.

2. Bias:  The RICA pass rates show evidence of bias against individuals in certain subgroups. For example, English-only examinees have an average first-attempt pass rate of 71%, while the pass rate is 56% for examinees who speak one or more languages other than English (CTC agenda item 2018-02-4e).

3. Predictive Validity: There is no evidence that successful completion of the RICA is predictive of the examinee’s ability to effectively deliver literacy instruction that leads to student learning. 

Students in California deserve well-prepared teachers, and the RICA is keeping them out of the classroom.