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California Community Colleges Common Assessment InitiativeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) began field-testing the initial version of CCCAssess with students in mid-March at pilot colleges to collect data and validate the instrument, in preparation for releasing the platform to the larger field in Fall 2016.

According to Jennifer Coleman, CAI Statewide Program Director, many suggestions have come from the field that can help college information technology (IT) teams prepare for the common assessment.

“The questions raised at the three regional professional development meetings attended by 300 people have been very useful in getting the word out to colleges as well as identifying concerns we can address,” Coleman said. “This is not a static solution. We are in a continuous improvement process to build a tool that is easily administered and gives colleges information that will lead to student success.”

The CAI team is also working closely with pilot colleges and began conducting focus groups with CCC IT professionals in February, noted John Hadad, CAI Product Manager.

“To further understand the interests of college IT departments as well as benefit from their suggestions, we demonstrated the platform and collected feedback through focus groups,” Hadad said.

“We are field testing version 1.0 of CCCAssess, the minimum viable product,” he said. “Through the focus groups and user input, we will better understand what IT departments need. Then Unicon, the CAI platform vendor, can make iterative enhancements that will be a part of CCCAssess version 2.0. It will have broad functionality when it is delivered in the fall.”

IT Requirements

The IT focus groups requested that CAI provide information about system and hardware requirements. “CCCAssess is being delivered as a cloud-based solution,” Hadad said. “It won’t be necessary to install the application locally. However, there may be some work to facilitate the integration of CCCAssess data into the campus student information system (SIS).”

“From a hardware perspective, CCCAssess has been designed to work on multiple platforms and operating systems as well as the most recent versions of the most popular browsers,” he added.

The design is responsive, so it will work on a variety of devices and can be activated in labs or offsite locations as long as there is Internet access, Hadad explained, noting that the system will be run on Amazon Services. “This model is easy to scale and highly stable,” he said.

Communication

According to Hadad, the CCCAssess team will be in close communication with college IT departments. “We will keep them informed during implementation at their college so that they can anticipate any local work that may be necessary to support the integration with their local SIS,” he said.

Single Sign-On

Students and staff will be offered a single sign-on user experience into CCCAssess, Hadad noted. “The CAI project team will coordinate with local IT staff to conduct the necessary steps to enable this user experience,” he said.

Security

The focus group was also interested in how CCCAssess would use personally identifiable information (PII). “CCCAssess does not store any PII and the use is very limited,” Hadad said.

CCCAssess is following industry-standard security protocols and working closely with Jeff Holden, Chief Information Security Officer of the CCC Technology Center to ensure that CCCAssess meets security standards.

Jennifer Coleman, CAI Statewide Program Director, presents at a recent CAI regional professional development session.Accessibility

Accessibility was another concern discussed by the focus groups. “CCCAssess has been working with Sean Keegan, the CCC Technology Center Accessibility Consultant,” Hadad said. “He has consulted with us through the design and development phases. Now Sean is running audits and reviews to validate content and the platform to assure that it serves all student populations.”

Contact CAI

In addition to the focus groups, the CAI product development team is working closely with staff at pilot colleges as they begin to use CCCAssess. Amy Beadle, CAI Program Manager, and Hadad are going into the field regularly to meet with college implementation teams.

During the pilot phase, they will identify additional needs that could be addressed in the next version of the platform. If you have questions or suggestions, you are encouraged to contact Hadad by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (530) 413-8583.

Learn More

Campus implementation teams are also encouraged to attend regional professional development sessions to learn more about CCCAssess. Upcoming sessions include:

  • Friday, April 15 –Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Milpitas (Use this link to register)
  • June – San Diego
  • July – Location to be determined

Other resources and information are available at the Common Assessment Initiative website, CCCAssess.org.


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