NOTE: Apparently, I already wrote about the RICA. But I like the writing of this entry better, and there's a little more information that the other post didn't have, so I'm keeping this post anyway. Two posts on the same credential topic? Goes to show how important it is.
Welcome to part 20 of Ms. B's Explanation Of How To Get A California Teaching Credential! In this section I will talk about how I learned more about reading and writing the English language than I ever thought was possible to know!
The RICA is as assessment taken sometime before, or during the early part, of the student teaching component. Supposedly a test to show how well you know how to teach reading, it actually tests more on the pedagogical language associated with reading instruction.
Not that the RICA isn't useful, because it is. However, I took this thing more than a year ago and I've forgotten, or jumbled up the definitions in my head, many of the terms the RICA requires that you know. Yet, I was still able to teach my NCLB tutee so that she raised her language arts grades from an F to a C- in 1.5 months.
So yeah, not exactly the most accurate measurement of how well a teacher can teach reading. Still, I suppose I should do an independent refresher course on schwas, reading diagnostics, phonics, phonemic awareness, et. al. It wouldn't hurt to keep up the language behind teaching language.
The RICA (plus the multicultural/bilingual course) is the newer, younger, more streamlined version of the CLAD. All California teachers are required to have certification to teach EL students, for obvious reasons. The sooner it gets done, the less stress experienced, I say.
There IS a lot of stress surrounding the RICA. If you don't pass it, you don't get your credential, since it's a built in component - an "all or nothing" situation. The passing rate is notoriously low as well. I've heard anywhere up to half of all test takers fail on the first try. Do you have to pay the $130 again for a second try? You betcha!
The good news: any decent language and literacy course (plus some studying on your own) will get you well above the minimum passing score of 60%.
I didn't have to do the video performance section of the RICA (another $60, and then $300 for decent video capture equipment) because my language and literacy course incorporated a case study assignment PLUS I was doing the PACT in math anyway (more on the PACT next time). I have no idea how difficult it is to pass the video assessment. Any tips for those who took it?