Suspend the RICA

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Prospective teachers who seek to earn a California credential to teach elementary students must pass an exam called the RICA (Reading Instruction Competency Assessment), in addition to successful completion of an approved credential program and a teaching performance assessment.  All educators understand and support the need to be well-prepared for strong literacy instruction. However, in its current form, the RICA is flawed, but it is the only obstacle standing between many well-prepared teachers and the classroom. The RICA does not accurately test literacy content, is biased against examinees whose first language is not English, and does not predict instructional effectiveness. We strongly advise the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to suspend the RICA requirement for teacher candidates until these issues are resolved.   

Further Explanation

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.


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).


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.