Exam Preparation Information


Subject Matter Competence Requirement

The State of California requires that anyone pursuing a Multiple Subject, Single Subject Teaching Credential or a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, to verify subject matter competence as a part of their teaching qualifications. This means that you have to prove to the state that you know the subject area that you will be teaching. Depending on the type of credential you want to pursue, you can meet subject matter competence by either taking the appropriate exam (CSET) OR by completing a subject matter preparation program through your bachelor’s degree. For information about specific program requirements please see the program description for your program of interest.

Teacher candidates must fulfill this requirement to gain full admission to the specific credential program. For candidates who completed their teacher preparation program in another state, the subject matter competence requirement may also be met through other options; please contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for more information regarding these options.

Basic Skills Requirement

The Basic Skills exam is required of anyone who is pursuing a teaching credential. California Education Code Sections 44252 and 44252.6 specify that candidates must demonstrate, in English, proficiency in basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Please review the “program descriptions” found under the “Admissions” link at www.sonoma.edu/education for information on how this requirement can be met. You need to demonstrate you are in progress of passing the Basic Skills requirement to be considered for admission. Requirement must be met in order to start a credential program.

RICA Requirement

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 Educational 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." 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.