secret to passing the RICA?

Discussion in 'Other Tests' started by littlemama, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 12, 2016

    It's a little complicated, teacher26.

    Of the scaled points, there are 200 available (300-100). Half of those are in multiple choice and half in constructed response. Half of the constructed response points go to the case study, which means the case study accounts for 25% of total available scaled points (that is, 50% • 50%: do the math and you get 25%). The other four constructed responses account for the other half of constructed response points; the longer responses (word analysis and comprehension) count for 15% each and the shorter response (fluency and vocabulary, academic language & background knowledge) count for 10% each. My sense is that the points in each domain are mostly (mostly!) counting multiple-choice points; there might be some contribution from constructed response, but I don't think it's as much.

    Your audience is neither kids nor parents: it's fellow teachers of reading, or teachers of teachers of reading. They want to see you using the technical terminology of the field, and they don't care nearly as much about grammar or form.
     
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  2. teacher26

    teacher26 New Member

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    Thanks TeacherGroupie, lets see what happens after the 26th, I studied really hard the first two times, now my motivation is not as strong, so i'm trying my best, but i just feel so lost...:-( I'm also trying to Mind map the domains, so that i can get a visual in my head. But i will take your suggestions and try to work on Word Analysis. Again thanks so much for taking you time out to help us all here, through the struggles of the RICA.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 19, 2016

    You're most welcome, teacher26.
     
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  4. AA0225

    AA0225 New Member

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    Hi fellow teachers, I could really use some advice or help. I have now taken the RICA six times. I cannot begin to tell you how defeated I feel. I have purchased every book on the Rica, including Zarillo's and used teachers test prep. I had a job with a new district and they were very patient and gave me time to be able to pass and obtain my credential. However, at the end of this school year since I have not passed i have been let go. I can get my job back if I pass, but as I received my score for the latest exam I missed it by 5 points...a 215. I'm going to request a rescore, but any advice you have on that i would greatly appreciate. Any advice at all would really help. I don't want to lose my job. I'm very desperate at this point. I've only taught in the 7-12 as a special education teacher if that helps at all. Thanks.
     
  5. Teaching5th

    Teaching5th New Member

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    I too have taken the RICA twice now and will be taking it again come August. I am in desperate need of advice on how to pass. I have registered for teacherstestprep online access and I have the "Ready for Revised RICA" book. Help?!
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2016

    How many plus marks are you getting in domains 1 through 5 and on the case study, and what else are you seeing about the case study?
     
  7. Teaching5th

    Teaching5th New Member

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    Domain 1: +++
    Domain 2: ++
    Domain 3: ++
    Domain 4: ++
    Domain 5: +++

    The case study I received ++. And it says I lack in the areas of "identify students strengths and needs and describe instructional strategy". I received the same comments the first time. When I write my case study, I use subtitles, which I don't think is working for me. I also typed over the word limit. Do you know if it cuts off after I've reached the word limit?

    Thank you in advance!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2016

    Plus marks are on a scale from + to ++++, and I'm fairly certain that the number of plus marks corresponds to quartiles of questions gotten right. ++ would then mean half or fewer of questions correct, and that's a problem.

    Domain 2 is Word Analysis, and that accounts for 33% of multiple-choice points. Scoring ++ means you're giving away 16.5% of total points right there. Can you describe for me the difference between phonemic awareness and phonological awareness, and given examples of each?

    In the case study, "Identify student strengths and needs" is a direction to start your discussion with where the student is right now according to the artifacts and the question stem. The fact that this has shown up in your diagnostics twice, and that you keep running out of space on your response, makes me think you might need to work on using the technical terminology of reading instruction. Either you're writing for an audience that isn't teachers of reading and teachers of reading instruction, or you haven't got a firm grasp on the terminology to begin with.
     
  9. Teaching5th

    Teaching5th New Member

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    Phonological awareness is the ability to understand that sounds make up words and words make up sentences. These words can be broken down into syllables. Where phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize each letter makes a sound. These letters can be separated and blended together to make words.

    So I need to study word analysis more. I actually just need to study the areas I lack?
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Um, no. With luck, teacherstestprep will sort you out, but in the meantime let me explain:

    You're right that phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness, but phonemic awareness has nothing to do with letter-sound correspondences. Phonemic awareness refers to knowledge of the phonemes or word-distinguishing sounds of English and the ability to identify and manipulate them. The first phoneme in the word pet is /p/, and we know it's a phoneme because swapping it out for a /b/ gives us bet, which is a different word. That was an example of phonemic awareness, by the way; "separating" (the word you wanted, in order to sound like a real teacher, was either segmenting or isolating) and blending phonemes are examples of phonemic awareness tasks, but that's not what I asked for.

    Letter-sound correspondences, such as the fact that the phoneme /b/ is reliably spelled by the letter <b> rather than something else, come under the heading of phonics.

    Phonological awareness refers to the ability to recognize, in the stream of speech, units of varying sizes, from sentences through phrases and individual words and down to syllables and their components. Can you tell me what the onset and rime are in the word "scratched"? Phonological awareness also includes awareness of prosody, which you can think of as the melody of speech: it's how you can distinguish a yes-no question from a statement, even if you can't hear the words clearly (that is, "That's a word?" sounds different than "That's a word" does), and how you can tell whether a competent adult speaker has gotten to the end of a noun phrase or sentence yet (that is, when an adult says the sentences "The cat came in" and "The cat from next door came in and sat down", the words cat and in will sound different in each case). Children master oral prosody long before they learn to read. Prosody is important in fluency (domain 3), of course.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2016

    Judging from your diagnostics, you need to study across the board, in order to get a better grip on how the various components of reading fit together. It might be possible to pass RICA with ++ in word analysis, but that would require at least +++ and several ++++ in all the other domains, not to mention a stronger showing in the case study.
     
  12. Teaching5th

    Teaching5th New Member

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    Okay, I appreciate the feedback. I will get to studying!
     
  13. Danyale

    Danyale Rookie

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    I'm sooooo upset! Not to "one up" everyone in their frustration but I've failed the RICA 12 times now. I just got let go from my position. I've done everything. I need serious help, not a Zarillo book...like REAL advice or a course that actually is beneficial.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

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    Aug 2, 2016

    Hugs, Danyale. What have you done to study thus far, and what diagnostic indicators are you seeing?
     
  15. Danyale

    Danyale Rookie

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    I've studied Zarillo books, taken RICA courses, gone to prayer rooms, had tutors from teachers prep test, practiced RICA practice tests. My scores are always very close. 200-215 always. There is no consistency with their scoring!!! I need a one-on-one tutor. I've lost 2 Special Ed positions that I love because I can't pass the RICA!!! I feel like it's rigged or something. Like there are certain people in the system that are just their money making machines!!!! I'm sick! I'm so tired of this!!!!! I'm heart broken that this exam can determine my life!!!
     
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  16. TeacherGroupie

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    Aug 2, 2016

    Is the pattern of plus marks in your diagnostics fairly consistent from one test date to the next? How many plus marks do you generally get in domain 2 (word analysis) and on the case study?
     
  17. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Oh my! I got the exact same explanation on my score tonight. I received 213/220. Just 7 stupid points. I explained everything possible in the case study. Some of the test questions for multiple choice were very difficult. By the time I got done and finally on to my case study, I only had 40 minutes left. I was looking into teacher test prep, but I just can't afford it. I am so upset that I can't think. I used up that whole 4 hours without any breaks. Honestly, California is complaining that they don't know why no one wants to be in the teaching programs? Smh. I fee like by the time I finally pass this test, I will have to retake my cset multi subs.

    I keep hearing from people how they are failing by a few points. Can we ask the state to re score? I afraid to because they may just be jerks and decide to lower my score. This sucks!
     
  18. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    I received the same as teaching5th. I'm disgusted. I honestly have no brain left. That last attempt left my brain mush. To have to start from scratch again on domains 2-4. My first attempt I received 189/220. I did t even study because I had just finished a term that was Zarrillo and RICA focused. Now I just got 213/220. I used the Zarrillo "new new" edition, videos, literacy strategy sites, etc.

    It's like the state is just sucking all the hopeful teacher's hopes and dreams dry. I'm 46 now and moved from being an executive assistant to this. I have passed my cset, cbest and all my TPAs. It took me 3 times to pass my TPA 4 and that is with my advisor from Calstateteach telling me to fail and start the term over. I feel like the state has beaten and abused me. One teacher told me that she took her RICA test while drunk and passed it the 1st time and here I am sober and can't pass it. I just need help. Sigh. Thanks in advance.
     
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  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 11, 2016

    Hugs on your frustration, Confusedasusual. But congratulations on having raised your score 24 points: that's impressive, and it suggests that you've improved your grip on the processes of reading instruction since first taking RICA.

    Finding one's brain mush after taking RICA is common. Plowing straight through RICA and finding oneself with forty minutes for the case study sounds pretty reasonable, actually. (40 minutes for case study + 20 minutes for each response in word analysis and comprehension + 10 minutes for each response in fluency and vocabulary/academic language/background knowledge = 100 minutes, or a bit less than half the time allotted for the test. Constructed response points count for half of the points available, so that's not bad.)

    How are you generally as a test taker?
     
  20. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2016

    I'm
    I am a horrible test taker. I am one of those test takers that panic and can't remember any of the material but can verbally tell someone what the answer is. I have always been that way and I have only had two teachers in all my schooling that understood my way of performance. I just can't seem to remember anything if I can't use tactile methods. Apparently I panic on video too because it took me three time to pass my TPA 4.

    I'm having to sub again in my district but it would be wonderful to have my own classroom. My husband doesn't want me to go through teacher test prep. He feels that because I am just 7 points away, just to get the case studies book and work on tackling my case study and essays first for next time. I just don't get it. I did notice that on many of the multiple questions they were soo confusing and I wasted five minutes just staring at each of them.

    One of my old cohorts just got hired for single subject English by using her degree from her home country. She said if she had to take the tests she would have failed too. This is past frustrating. I'm afraid to ask for a rescore. I don't even know how to ask and if they rescore.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 11, 2016

    Last point first: Rescoring usually doesn't do any good.

    Multiple-choice questions on RICA are supposed to take some thinking about: please don't think that everyone but you just glances at a question and automatically knows the answer. The best answer - sometimes it's more nearly the least lousy answer - is the one that matches the question stem (the stuff before the answers) at more points than the other answers do: for instance, if the student in a question stem is a third grader who is struggling to read the word photographic, the kid's problem is highly unlikely to be phonemic awareness because, between the word and the grade, the kid simply isn't at that stage any more - and for a third grader to struggle with that word is fairly normal. Try using your dry-erase sheet to track what the question stem tells you and to compare each of the possible answers to that.

    The second domain, word analysis, accounts for fully 1/3 of multiple choice points on RICA. Using your best RICA-speak, and imagining that we are sitting together in your favorite coffeehouse and I've paid for the coffees and mean you no harm, tell me what word analysis consists of.
     
  22. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    I took this test more times than I ever expected to take a test. Finally I took it this summer and have received a passing score!!
     
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  23. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2016

     
  24. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    They do offer an appeal on the writing portion of the exam. I tried it and they left the score the same (I had a 219 score, yep, 1 point). I took 60 days for me to receive a response from them. The charge $50.00 to reconsider the score. You also only get a certain amount of time from when you took the test to submit for a re-scoring.
     
  25. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    For everyone looking for a better book than Zarrillo (in my opinion), I used the CliffsNotes RICA 2nd edition. I felt it much better explains things. Also, I used quizlett this last time to sharpen my terminology and it seemed to have worked.
    Don't loose hope everyone. I know they are working on allowing that course work be used instead of the test. Also, If you have received an emergency teaching credential like a STPT ( I think that is the correct abbreviation) your CSET scores "freeze" and you don't have to retake them if they pass the 5 years. I know this because this is the situation I am dealing with right now.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Congratulations on passing, teacherL!
     
  27. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    Thank you, it was a stressful road!
     
  28. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Sorry I didn't answer before. My brain seems to still be mush and I'm trying to reread everything. Word analysis consists of the following components:

    Syllabication, prefix, affix, suffix, Compound words, homographs, context clues, root words, structural analysis, etc. These are all the various components (strategies) that people use in order to decode words for reading. We start at the basic levels (phonemes) and work our way up to , speed, language, and prosody. In short, word analysis is a method that people use in recognition of written language. Also, in word analysis strategies, you have to use either sdaie strategies or heavily rely on bloom's taxonomy multi strategies in order to reach each student's needs. This can be done with graphic organizers, scaffolding, recordings of books where students can follow along first and then read them back later. Example for issues with compounds: use sentence strips with different words and have student physically move words together to show two separate words coming together to make one compound words, etc.

    Hopefully that is what you were asking. I just received the case studies book that I bought from Amazon and I'm going to reread all zarillo and watch the videos. I do have the cliff notes book but haven't used it yet. I really would love to know more on how to side track this stupid test, I know there is no way to but I can dream. I'd love to know how I could get an emergency credential and freeze my cset tests. I know that California is dying for teachers in the worst neighborhoods of Oakland and parts of San Francisco, but my husband doesn't want me to go there because it's a dangerous area where there are many drive by shootings. Plus, those schools are still looking for prelim credentials which means I can't even go there. If anyone can email me and pass me notes or anything, I'd love it. Thank you for your input so far. This test can honestly destroy any want to be teachers self esteem. I hate going back to school as just a sub but my family can't live on only one paycheck anymore and we just found out that my husband's science job is closing in September, so I need a steady paying job like yesterday. Thanks.
     
  29. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    I don't know how it could email you on this but I'd love to pick your brain. How could one obtain an emergency credential? Also, did you just do the practice tests on cliff notes? My teenager actually wants me to start making cards on all rica material since Calstateteach had us make a quizzlet account and I put in all the long definitions. I don't know why I can't remember all 300+ since I put them all in excel before uploading to thst website. I can't seem to find the pm for this. Sigh.

    Thank you.
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 27, 2016

    Word analysis (domain 2 of RICA) comprises concepts about print, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics (which includes decoding), and what educators seem to have to call "structural analysis", which linguists know as morphology. Prosody belongs to fluency, which is domain 3, along with accuracy and automaticity. Context clues belong to comprehension, domain 5.

    As for emergency credentials, those are issued through a district, when the district can't find anyone with a credential to take a job.

    You might see if you can find an internship somewhere: you'd be paid while teaching. But you'll still need to have all the tests passed, of course: that's state law plus the remains of No Child Left Behind.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  31. TeacherGroupie

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    Decoding is working out, letter by letter and sound by sound, what a given written word is: "...b... ...a... ...t... ... um... BAT!" Decoding is emphatically not about roots and affixes, nor really about syllables. (Being able to hear a word and identify its syllables is phonological awareness. Being able to break a syllable SKIP down into its beginning (onset) sk and ending (rime) ip is also phonological awareness.

    You might find it useful to distinguish between "strategies" (which means reading strategies: things that readers do to figure out what texts say) and "instructional strategies" (which means things that teachers do to help readers acquire reading strategies).
     
  32. Danyale

    Danyale Rookie

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    I took the test...AGAIN!! I'm waiting to hear back. I feel so insecure about it. I made a template of how to approach the case study and short case studies. The multiple choice was really hard this time.
    In the case study I think identified one of the needs wrong. If you have solid terminology (orientation, presentation, self guided practice, independent practice, assessment) how much do they mark you down if identity a wrong need? In other words, do they fail you on the case study if you can't identify the need correctly?
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

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    Bear in mind first, please, that one passes RICA as a whole: a strong performance on the other 3/4 of the test can make up for a weaker performance on the case study, and the case study certainly allows partial credit.

    If (a) you made the case for the need you identified, (b) the instructional strategy you chose was reasonable for the need you identified and you showed it in action, and (c) you explained why the instructional strategy would help the student, you might lose a few points for not having selected the student's major need, but I wouldn't expect you to be failed on that account alone.
     
  34. Danyale

    Danyale Rookie

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    I've taken this test several times, I've done everything everyone has recommended.
    I know the Domains, I know all of the competencies. I know that in my case study I need to show what I know. I used so much verbiage that is in Zarillo's book and what my tutors told me (ex: systematic explicit instruction in phonics or fluency...)
    If I have to take this test again...if I find that I did not pass...AGAIN, well, I guess I'll just become a sea captain and set sail. Bye bye everyone!!!!!
     
  35. teacherL

    teacherL Rookie

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    A district can choose to hire you as a teacher while you are still completing your program. This permit is what I referred to as the emergency credential. The district has to hire you to obtain one though.
    I did not create my own quizlett account, I used the various ones on there to practice with. The book I mentioned was also a huge help for me, I highly recommend it if Zarrillo is not for you.
     
  36. Jsasss

    Jsasss Rookie

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    I see you have offered a study guide for the RICA to others. Is it still available?
     
  37. SPH_Teacher

    SPH_Teacher Rookie

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    So at the moment my credential expires December 1st, I'm praying that the district keeps me by offering me a Short Term Staff Permit (stsp) or else I lose my job! The good thing is that my administrator is calling the district. fingers crossed.

    I followed this outline for the case study and scored 215 (5 points away).

    My scores were as follows
    Domain
    1. ++
    2. ++
    3. ++
    4. ++
    5. +++
    Case Study: +++

    Now, when I left the testing site I felt like I did something wrong in Word Analysis response. When I got home I checked my notes, and realized I named the area of need structural analysis and not syllabic analysis. I hope those were the points I needed and pass on my next attempt.
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

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    Am I correct that multiple choice questions give you grief? Here's a strategy: Ignore the possible answers, and answer the question as though it were a one- to two-sentence short answer; then see which of the answer choices comes closest to what you came up with.

    Good job getting +++ in domain 5 (comprehension) and the case study. I'll recommend putting a fair bit of effort into domain 2, word analysis, which covers all the ways in which a word can be sliced and diced: that domain accounts for 1/3 of multiple choice points, and in addition you'll probably find that strengthening your grip on word analysis will buy you some more useful points on the case study.
     
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  39. SPH_Teacher

    SPH_Teacher Rookie

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    Ive taken several practice test and always get 3-5 incorrect responses. I agree that focusing on word analysis really helped me. I just cant believe I named it wrong which caused me thise points. :(

    Im hoping the district agrees to give me a emergency credential until the end of the year. fingers crossed.
     
  40. Got2Teach

    Got2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2016

    Hello, Fellow Teachers!

    Let me begin by saying thank you to TeacherGroupie for moderating this Forum. I've read many of the posts and you have definitely been a tremendous help to many RICA Test takers.

    I am taking the RICA Exam next month (December 2, 3, or 4) for the first time. I want to give myself the cushion of a few extra days if I need it--smile! This RICA test is no joke!! Oy!

    I have a few questions for TeacherGroupie and others who have passed.
    A. Would it be wise to have at least 2 strategies in the following areas (in preparation for the Case Study)? Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension. I know that there's no way for me to memorize 8 or 10 strategies as I may be overwhelmed or blank out on test day. Please advise.

    B. In this forum, a couple RICA students stated that they followed this formula/outline for the CASE Study:
    1. Identify the problem. 2. Strategy or Activity to help with the problem. 3. Explain why that strategy or activity helps. 4. Teacher Model 5. Guided Practice 6. Independent Practice 7. Extended Activity. In the Case Study examples I've read and practiced, I have not seen a requirement of 4 - 7. Are they necessary?

    C. Does one need to know how to do an IRI for the RICA? Or do you need to know what it is?

    Please advise, suggest, and inform--it would be greatly appreciated!
     

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