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RICAS Assessments

2018 was the first year of the new Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) in grade 3-8 in English Language Arts and mathematics.

The RICAS assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS); our standards have not changed. Instruction in our classrooms should continue to be aligned to these standards in English language arts and mathematics for all students.

Below are important documents and other resources that will help LEAs and educators learn about and prepare for RICAS.

For additional resources for the RICAS assessment, please visit the RICAS Resource Center.

Test Design: English Language Arts Information

The English Language Arts Test Design (pdf) document and PowerPoint (ppt) describe the design of the RICAS ELA tests. Test design documents were updated 11.14.19 to reflect new test blueprints.

RIDE created a RICAS Flyer (February 2021) that can be shared with families.

Calibrating Expectations Support Materials

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

The RICAS assessments are based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework which is strongly aligned with Rhode Island's English Language Arts/Literacy standards: the Common Core State Standards.

Standards Alignment

The RICAS ELA standards document showcases the alignment between the CCSS standards and the RICAS assessment. Clarifications and differences are noted within the standards in red font. This document supports educators as they deepen their understanding of the standards and implications for instruction. Students are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards while retaining and further developing skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades. Therefore, standard clarification and differences are included for all grades K-12.

ELA Rubrics

The rubrics below will be used to assess the various types of students writing for the RICAS assessment (2018 to present).

Student Work

  • RICAS Sample Student Work can be found at www.doe.mass/edu/mcas/student/2018
  • Writing Standards in Action Project provides samples of student work that demonstrates grade-level expectations. The samples are annotated by educators to support student instruction in writing by showing how student writing meets or exceeds the standard. These writing samples are another source of student writing to help calibrate student expectations by grade level. The Massachusetts' Curriculum Frameworks documents refer to the Writing Standards in Action Project samples.

Assessment Resources

Test Design: Mathematics Information

The Mathematics Test Design document and PowerPoint describe the design of the RICAS mathematics tests.

RIDE created a RICAS Flyer (February 2021) that can be shared with families.

Student Work Resources

Calibrating Expectations Using Student Work Samples

Mathematics Test Design and Fact Sheet by Grade

The documents below describe the RICAS test designs for Mathematics grades 3 – 8. They also include information on item types, calculator use, and links to RICAS resources.

Mathematics Reference Sheets by Grade

The reference sheets below are for all students to use during the RICAS mathematics tests. Mathematics Reference Sheets for students who are eligible for the Supplemental Reference Sheet accommodation can be found on in the Accommodations and Accessibility Features Manual.

RICAS Assessment Tables and Achievement Level Descriptors

Supplemental assessment tables provide information for specific standards in terms of assessment. Achievement level descriptors are summaries of the knowledge and skills students demonstrate for the different levels of proficiency on RICAS.

Technical Skills for Students

Technical Skills for Students (pdf) outlines the skills students should be familiar with in order to navigate and use TestNav confidently. Please ensure that students have time to use these skills on the practice tests before testing begins.

Calculator Policy

RICAS Calculator Policy (pdf)

Below is a chart, by grade level, of the calculator types available to students on session 2 only of the RICAS mathematics tests for the computer- and paper-based tests. Please keep in mind that:

  • Any 7th or 8th grade student may use one of the handheld calculators listed below instead of the calculators embedded in TestNav (no accommodation is necessary). However, at a minimum, 7th and 8th grade students should have sole access to a 5-function calculator.
  • Non-calculator sessions of any RICAS mathematics tests: unless a student has the accommodation SA4: Calculation device or other mathematics tool for the non-calculator session of the mathematics test*, no calculators are provided in TestNav and no handheld calculators should be made available.


Calculators Provided in TestNav

Allowable Handheld Calculators (CBA and PBA)

3 Non-calculator Non-calculator
4 Non-calculator Non-calculator
5 Non-calculator Non-calculator
6 Non-calculator Non-calculator
7 TN8 5-function
TN8 scientific
8 TN8 scientific
TI graphing
DESMOS graphing

*This accommodation is a Special Access accommodation. The student must meet specific criteria in order to receive this accommodation. See the RISAP Accommodations and Accessibility Manual for more information (click on the Accommodations tab on this web page).