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California Educator Credentialing Examinations


Through the California Reading Initiative, California has made a major commitment to improving students' reading skills and performance. An important element of the California Reading Initiative is Education Code Section 44283, which is foremost among the efforts to improve the preservice preparation of teacher candidates. The law requires the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to "develop, adopt, and administer a reading instruction competence assessment . . . to measure an individual's knowledge, skill, and ability relative to effective reading instruction." Evaluation Systems was contracted by the CTC to assist in the development, administration, and scoring of this assessment, which is known as the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment® (RICA®).

The goal of reading instruction is to develop competent, thoughtful readers who are able to use, interpret, and appreciate all types of text. Beginning teachers need to be able to deliver effective reading instruction that

  • is based on the results of ongoing assessment;
  • reflects knowledge of state and local reading standards for different grade levels;
  • represents a balanced, comprehensive reading curriculum;
  • is sensitive to the needs of all students.

The purpose of the RICA is to ensure that California-trained candidates for Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials and Education Specialist Instruction Credentials (special education) possess the knowledge and skills important for the provision of effective reading instruction to students.

The set of teacher knowledge and skills described in the RICA Content Specifications and reflected in the RICA is organized into the following five domains:

  • Domain 1: Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment
  • Domain 2: Word Analysis
  • Domain 3: Fluency
  • Domain 4: Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge
  • Domain 5: Comprehension

Review the RICA Content Specifications links to a PDF.

RICA Options

The RICA consists of two assessment options: the RICA Written Examination and the RICA Video Performance Assessment. Both the Written Examination and the Video Performance Assessment are based on the RICA Content Specifications. A passing score on either assessment represents successful completion of the RICA requirement.

The RICA requirement generally applies to candidates who complete Multiple Subject Teaching Credential or Education Specialist Instruction Credential programs through accredited California colleges or universities or via district intern programs. In addition, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Education Specialist Instruction Credential candidates trained outside of California and individuals seeking to add a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential to their existing Single Subject Teaching Credential may use a passing score on the RICA to fulfill the teaching of reading methods requirements. A Single Subject Credential holder seeking the Multiple Subject Credential must both complete a beginning reader methodology course and pass the RICA.

Based on California Education Code Sections 44283 and 44283.2, the following two groups of credential applicants are required to pass the RICA:

  • California-trained candidates for the initial Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, preliminary or clear, with or without emphasis, based on a fifth-year, blended, or intern program or on three or more years of applicable private school experience
  • California-trained candidates for initial Education Specialist Instruction Credentials (special education), preliminary, preliminary level I, or clear level II

The following groups of applicants are not required to pass the RICA:

Applicants Applicants NOT Required to Pass the RICA
Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Applicants
  • Applicants who qualify for the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential based on their elementary teacher education program completed in another state
  • Applicants who obtained a preliminary or professional clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with an effective date prior to October 1, 1998
Education Specialist Instruction Credential Applicants
  • Applicants who hold valid California teaching credentials requiring a baccalaureate degree and a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching
  • Applicants who qualify for the Education Specialist Instructional Credential based on a teacher education program completed in another state that included a full curriculum of coursework in the specific special education area sought
  • Applicants who are applying for an Early Childhood Special Education Credential
  • Applicants who obtained a certificate of eligibility or a preliminary level I or professional clear level II Education Specialist Instruction Credential with an effective date prior to January 1, 2000
Other Credential Applicants
  • Applicants for Single Subject Teaching Credentials, Designated Subjects Teaching Credentials, Eminence Credentials, service credentials, or child development permits
  • Applicants for internship credentials and certificates
  • Applicants for emergency permits, provisional internship permits, or short-term staff permits
  • Applicants applying to teach an American Indian language only

Passing scores must be applied toward California certification within ten (10) years of the test date or submission deadline.

Select a test to learn about registration fees and other test-specific information.