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CCC Common Assessment InitiativeWith nearly 45 colleges scheduled to activate CCCAssess during the Fall 2016 term for Spring 2017 placement, college Information Technology (IT) departments are eager to understand what will be involved in converting to the new system.

The CCCAssess team realizes the challenge of adding yet another project to the IT team’s full plate, and is working to make the conversion as smooth as possible, said John Hadad, Product Manager for the California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI).

“IT teams are already running at full speed,” Hadad said. “Each college has local IT projects to implement and upgrades to their systems. Plus, the IT staff provides ongoing support of the network. CCCAssess does mean extra work but we are doing everything we can to reduce the pressure and provide support.”

CCCAssess Resources

To support IT departments that need to contract for additional help, colleges can apply for funding through CCCAssess implementation grants. Apply at

John Hadad, Product Manager, CCC Common Assessment InitiativeA CCCAssess implementation guide has been developed that can help IT departments identify tasks and deadlines as well as how they can work with other members of their local implementation team.

Regional professional development sessions are planned for July 29 in Ontario, August in the Chico area and September in Fresno. Webinars and other materials are also announced through the CAI Interest Listserv; join to get notifications.

Steps To Get Started

1. Determine the date when your college is scheduled to activate CCCAssess at

2. Schedule a kick-off call by contacting Monica Zalaket, CCCAssess Implementation Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-213-3677.

3. Get an overview from the CCCAssess website and implementation guide

4. With a team representing counseling, research, administration, instructional faculty and the assessment center, develop the vision for your college assessment and placement program.

5. Take an inventory of your current assessment tools and document how those tools integrate with your SIS. Next, identify any downstream processes that are dependent on assessment data.

6. Co-create a project management plan that identifies people, tasks and timelines with the CCCAssess Implementation Specialist.

7. Prepare a backup plan that might include continuing to use the current assessment system or other interim solution.

Commonly Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the commonly asked questions that may be helpful to your IT Team.

Who are the CCCAssess development partners?
The CAI is working with Unicon to develop the assessment platform. Link-Systems International is creating content questions in conjunction with CCC experts. Assessment data will reside in the statewide data warehouse to support research and to aggregate data.

How will users access CCCAssess?
Both students and staff will access CCCAssess through a single sign-on user experience. This requires integration between the campus identity provider (IdP) and the statewide IdP. CCCAssess will provide supporting documentation and resources to facilitate a streamlined integration.

Monica Zalaket, Implementation Specialist, CCC Common Assessment InitiativeWhat if we use Shibboleth?
Colleges using Shibboleth will need to verify which version they are using. They should give consideration to upgrading to the latest version of Shibboleth, if that hasn’t been completed. Shibboleth v2.n will become an unsupported version, and while upgrading to v3.1 is not required, it is strongly encouraged.

What if we use other Identity Providers?
If a college does not use Shibboleth as its IdP, there are other steps that you may need to take. Colleges using PortalGuard, Ellucian and other IdP solutions will need to go through a process to ensure that their campus system is compatible with the statewide IdP. This includes aligning the IdP and associated applications to support the integration with the statewide authentication service.

What local portal updates will be necessary?
The local portal that is accessed by students and staff is also likely to require updating. The CAI implementation team will work with local IT departments to ensure an integrated user experience between the local portal and CCCAssess.

How will IT support the placement model programming?
Each college will be developing its own local placement model. Programming of the placement model can be a daunting experience in current assessment tools. Our intention is to provide an interactive, friendly user experience to facilitate the placement model programming.

Every effort is being made so that college IT departments will not be required to do additional programming. However, the tight implementation schedule for colleges that are assessing in Fall 2016 may require some additional programming. The long-term plan is for CCCAssess to provide a robust, easy-to-use and flexible placement model to support the variety of use cases throughout California Community Colleges.

How will CCCAssess integrate with our student information system?
The types and brands of student information systems (SIS) vary. Each college SIS is unique, which is why CCCAssess has partnered with Project Glue to ease SIS integration. Project Glue is the creation of a universal adaptor to facilitate stable data management between multiple student information systems and external applications.

Project Glue is still in the development stages. The CCCAssess project team will coordinate the implementation of the adaptor as part of the custom activation and integration plans for each college and district.

Do you have more questions?

Additional information is available at the CCCAssess website at You can also contact John Hadad directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-413-8583, and Monica Zalaket at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-213-3677.

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