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Members of the Platform & Administration Work Group meet regularly to review plans and give input on CCCAssess. Left to right: Jennifer Coleman, Irina Marsant, Eileen Ross, Tim McCarthy-Smith, Sherri Goldberg, Sonja Nilsen, Josh Corbin, William Duxler, Robert Kelly, Gary Thompson, Virginia Moran, Ranell Holmes, Alison Dubose and John HadadTo ensure the new statewide Common Assessment has input from community colleges throughout California, the Platform & Administration Work Group is reviewing every stage of information technology planning and providing feedback from the field.

In addition, 12 community colleges are on board to pilot the new assessment system, known as CCCAssess. The California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) will be learning from their experiences as they prepare their internal teams, use the technology and roll it out with students. Their field experience will contribute to developing a successful program that works in a variety of campus environments.

The assessment platform will continue to be modified as feedback is gathered from the pilot colleges as well as their sister colleges in the same districts.

Information Technology staff from the pilot colleges are working closely with the 25-plus members of the CAI Platform & Administration Work Group to ensure that the initiative has a broad perspective. College IT professionals will help to:

  • Focus on key attributes of the Minimum Viable Product
  • Provide feedback on prototypes
  • Identify obstacles and barriers
  • Review installation and maintenance processes
  • Examine changes that are made to correct issues
  • Evaluate professional development for IT staff
  • Define best practices
  • Recommend enhancements for 2.0

Below are some of the questions that CAI is getting from the field. The answers may help IT departments across the CCC better understand what is planned. Feel free to contact CAI Product Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. directly for additional information.

1. How will students and staff access the assessment and results?

The Common Assessment platform being developed with Unicon will be accessed online through a web browser at college assessment centers. Students will take the assessment online, and staff will be able to see results online. Accommodations will be available for administering the assessment with paper and pencil.

2. Will the assessment work with tablets?

The assessment program is being developed as a responsive design, so the view will adjust automatically based on the hardware being used in the test administration site. It will work equally well on tablets, laptops and desktops.

3. What about remote proctoring?

Proctor arrangements will be determined by local practice. Since the assessment is conducted online through a web browser, colleges will be able to administer CCCAssess at remote sites connected to the Internet.

William Duxler (left) and Gerlie Jeltema exchange ideas at the CCCAssess Platform & Administration Work Group meeting held in October.4. What are you doing to ensure accessibility?

We are working closely with an accessibility expert throughout the development and deployment phases. The system will be tested to make sure that it works with assistive technologies. In addition, the platform will be run through an accessibility audit. Any problems identified will be rectified.

5. How will our staff download results?

Through the online administrative portal, staff will be able to get near-real-time results. Additionally, we are exploring some automated reporting functionality.

6. Is Common Assessment aligned with the statewide student services portal?

The student services portal is another technology solution currently in development by a separate statewide initiative. CCCAssess will be available as an app in the portal. Students at colleges using the student services portal will be able to sign on to CCCAssess from within the portal. For colleges that have not yet adopted the statewide student services portal, we will work in collaboration with college IT departments to determine the best ways to interface with their systems.

7. What are you doing to be sure the system is secure?

The CAI platform will go through a security audit to ensure compliance with security standards and identify any vulnerability.

8. When will CCCAssess be rolled out at our school?

Twelve pilot colleges will field-test CCCAssess starting in February 2016. During Fall 2016, the pilot colleges and some of their sister colleges will use the full production version of the platform. The rest of the colleges in the system will come onboard in phases between Spring 2017 and Fall 2018, at intervals aimed at avoiding the busiest times of the year and minimizing impact on local staff.

9. What kind of help will we get during implementation?

CAI anticipates developing local implementation plans in conjunction with college IT departments. CCCAssess will also provide professional development specifically for IT staff. In addition, detailed documentation will be available about the platform and integration into existing systems. A help desk with multiple service levels is also planned.

10. What should our IT department be doing now to prepare for Common Assessment?

Create a college committee representing all of the departments involved in assessment so that your offices can work together in planning for Common Assessment.

  • Talk to the assessment staff at your campus.
  • Find out how assessment is currently being handled.
  • Learn how data from the current assessment is transferred into the Student Information System.
  • Investigate how the data is used by research, counselors, faculty members and assessment staff.
  • Share your local implementation team’s contact information with CAI staff to receive ongoing news and updates to tasks.

Participate In The Process

If you have questions about the CAI platform and the IT implementation plan, please contact John Hadad at 530-413-8583 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For questions specific to the formation of local implementation teams, please contact Amy Beadle, Statewide Project Manager, Common Assessment Initiative at (530) 879-4170 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Talking with you can help us in planning the best ways to assist colleges with the Common Assessment. You can also learn more about CAI at

Karen Fraser-Middleton is a marketing consultant for the
California Community Colleges Common Assessment Initiative