Free RICA Test Review

The Formats of the RICA Test

The RICA test, short for Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, is designed to ensure that teachers can effectively teach students how to read. Educators who must complete this assessment may choose to do either a written examination or a video performance assessment. Following is a brief overview of these two options:

The Written Examination: The written version of the RICA test is made up of two sections. The first is a standardized portion that consists of 70 multiple choice questions. Some of these questions are designed to directly test an individual's knowledge of reading and reading instruction techniques. Other questions in this section ask the test- taker to apply her knowledge to different situations and analyze problems. In the second section of the RICA test, constructed response, individuals use their knowledge to produce five well-written essays. Four of these essays require the educator to read about an education-related problem or task and then discuss optimal teaching or assessment strategies applicable to it. Required word counts for written responses range from 75 to 300 words. The final essay question on the RICA test is a case study in which test-takers are presented with comprehensive information about a student and his or her reading abilities. The individual must then prepare an essay between 300 and 600 words outlining the student's assessed reading performance and teaching strategies that would be appropriate to the situation.

The Video Performance Assessment: This vastly differs from the written test. For the Video Performance Assessment, educators submit videos of themselves providing actual reading instruction in the classroom. Those who wish to complete this format of the RICA test need to create three videos accompanied by an Instructional Context Form and a Reflection Form. The videos must depict whole class, small group, and individual instruction. Each video must also address different domains.

Free RICA Practice Questions

1. During which stage of writing will students narrow their topic and determine their target audience?

a. Proofreading
b. Drafting
c. Pre-writing
d. Revising

2. Which text feature separates a long word into its component syllables?

a. Quotation marks
b. Ellipse
c. Hyphen
d. Dash

3. After reading a story aloud to his first-grade class, Mr. Jackson asks Jimmy, one of the students, to describe what happened in the story. Jimmy gives a good summary, but leaves out one of the main characters, so Mr. Jackson asks him some leading questions to stir his memory. This teaching strategy is called:

a. Unaided retelling
b. Free retelling
c. Inferential evaluation
d. Aided recall

4. Which of the following approaches would a good reader use for dealing with an unfamiliar word?

a. Context clues
b. Structural analysis
c. Phonics
d. Any of the above

5. Which of the following is NOT part of evaluative comprehension?

a. Recognizing the bias of the author
b. Identifying faulty argumentation
c. Distinguishing fact from opinion
d. Identifying the main idea

Answer Key

1. C: During the pre-writing stage, students will narrow their topic and determine their target audience. The state of California has outlined a four-step process for composition. Pre-writing is the first stage, and it includes the selection and narrowing of a topic, the determination of the audience, and in some cases, the creation of an outline. In the second stage, drafting, the student composes a first version of the text. In the third stage, revising/editing, the student looks over the first draft and makes changes. Sometimes, it is useful to bring in another person, like a teacher or classmate, to make suggestions. This stage can also be called the proofreading stage. In the fourth stage, final draft, the student makes all necessary revisions and polishes the final version of the text.

2. C: A hyphen separates a long word into its component syllables. Hyphens also are used in compound words (such as self-esteem and twenty-five) and when a printed word runs from one line to the next. The hyphen is similar in appearance to the dash, although it is shorter. The dash is used to indicate a break in thought or an omission. Some writers use dashes instead of parentheses to denote incidental material or instead of colons to indicate pauses. Quotation marks surround direct speech. An author of nonfiction uses quotation marks to indicate words actually spoken or written by another person, while an author of fiction uses quotation marks for the words spoken or written by his characters. An ellipse is used to indicate a gap or omission in the text. For instance, if part of a text is lost or destroyed, the location of the missing material will be marked with an ellipse. The ellipse appears as a series of three or more periods, sometimes placed within parentheses.

3. D: Asking a student some probing questions to help him round out a description of a text is called aided recall, or probed recall. This strategy represents a good way to assess literal comprehension. The teacher should use aided recall after the student has tried an unaided retelling, that is, a summary of the story without help from classmates or prompting from the teacher. Free retelling is just another way of saying unaided retelling. Inferential evaluation, on the other hand, is not a part of the retelling process. In retelling, the student should be focused on the explicit elements of the text: the main characters, the events, and any other important details. Inferential evaluation is the use of all these explicit elements to answer questions implicit in the text. After the teacher has led the student through aided recall such that the text has been described fully, it may be appropriate to ask some questions requiring inferential evaluation. This is a more sophisticated reading skill, however, so it should only be required of advanced classes.

4. D: A good reader could use context clues, structural analysis, or phonics in dealing with an unfamiliar word. Indeed, part of becoming a good reader is developing multiple strategies for approaching challenges. Most of the time it will be possible to understand an unfamiliar word through context: that is, through the words that surround and refer to the word in question. However, in some cases the context will not be helpful-for example, when some of the contextual words are unknown as well. When this is the case, the reader could attempt a structural analysis. This is an examination of the word's morphology, or its root and any affixes. If this strategy is unhelpful, the reader may be able to use phonics. By sounding a word out, the reader often reminds himself of its meaning. Any of these strategies is an appropriate method of approaching an unfamiliar word.

5. D: Identifying the main idea is not part of evaluative comprehension. The state of California divides reading comprehension skills into three categories: literal comprehension, inferential comprehension, and evaluative comprehension. Evaluative comprehension skills are used to identify subtle and implicit elements of the text. For instance, an author's bias or use of faulty argumentation may not be immediately apparent. Identifying these qualities in a text requires sophistication on the part of the reader. One of the first steps in the development of evaluative comprehension is distinguishing between fact and opinion. Once a student can make this distinction, he can look at the text in a more critical manner. The main idea of a text, however, should be either explicit or easily inferred. For this reason, identifying the main idea is not considered an evaluative skill.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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