Hey there, friend!
So your results came back, and you didn't pass. ARGHHH!!! What do you do now? It's time to REGROUP.
Many factors go into creating the right combination of scores within the Multiple Choice and Constructed Responses. And yes, the content is super difficult to master, but master it your will!
First, it's time for some tough love here. You may not like it, but you need to hear it. The responsibility lies with you. You are in the driver's seat. You control how you prepare and what you choose to do.
That being said, there are certainly steps you should take and resources you should use to help you prepare. But how you use those resources is completely up to you! I always find it interesting when someone asks me, "If I enroll in your course, do you guarantee that I will pass?" I absolutely cannot guarantee a pass. I wish I could! But how you use what I create is - you guessed it - up to you!
So what do you do now? Here are 10 things I want you to do or consider, honestly.
1. Breathe and forgive yourself - There can be shame and guilt associated when you don't pass. Don't let yourself go there. There is no shame here! The truth of the matter is that only 70% of first time RICA test takers pass.
2. Stay Positive - The purpose of this test is to give you a foundation in how to teach your students to read or to know what to do when they aren't learning to read. That's a big responsibility! It's important! In fact it is THE most important thing, in my opinion, that you will ever teach. Remember that you will be a better teacher for knowing this information.
3. Take an honest look at your preparation approach - You have to be brutally honest with yourself. Let's take that a step further.
4. Did you do EVERYTHING that was recommended? - If I happen to be your main mentor or guide here, I have a number of points I strongly suggest that you have heard me preach over and over. These are big bang for your buck kinds of tasks. Let's look closer again.
5. Did you read the National Reading Panel Report (2000)? - This is a big one. The RICA was developed shortly after this report came out and the content is directly aligned. What's nice is the summary of the NRPR is about 40 pages long and really helps to connect the dots. The content of your test will make so much more sense if you have this under your belt.
6. Did you COMPLETE your prep course? - If you were a RICA Prep 101 student, did you finish the course? Did you go in order? When I developed the program, I created it in a way that builds on previous information. The full benefit comes when you use EVERYTHING that was given. There are many additional links, pdf's, and resources that you will find helpful and illustrate the content presented.
7. Did you practice analyzing data? - THIS IS HUGE! The case study, in particular, requires you to analyze and evaluate a set of data for a given student. Practicing how to do this is IMPERATIVE! You don't want to walk into a testing situation without having gone through this process because it is a very detailed process and is why we spend time doing this in our case study workshops.
8. Did you write out a practice case study and ask for feedback? - Just like the practice needed to look at the data, you then need to apply that data to a practice prompt and write it out. But to take that to the next level, ask for feedback from a knowledgeable expert. My VIP members have unlimited access to me to help them dial in the case study and fill any gaps. Sometimes just hearing from someone that you are on the right track or that you nailed a response completely is all the confidence booster you need!
9. Did you seek out clarification when needed? - You definitely want to have a clear understanding of what you are covering. If it doesn't make sense, reach out to me or a knowledgeable community for clarification.
10. Did you give yourself enough time to prepare? - I am often asked how long it takes to prepare, and this is different for every person. Generally speaking I suggest 4-6 weeks of hard core studying, but if you have a family you are raising, you might need longer. If you can lock yourself in your room and block out the world and only think of the RICA, you could get away with less. The bottom line is be honest about what you need. If you procrastinated, then you know your answer.
There you have it! You have to own it. You didn't pass. It is not the reader's fault, it's not the state's fault, it's not the test's fault, it's not the fault of the prep books and resources you used. You and you alone are responsible for the mastery of the content. After all, you and you alone will be responsible for using this content to teach your future students how to read. Any you know what? YOU CAN DO THIS! I PROMISE!
Much love to you,