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California Community Colleges Common Assessment InitiativeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) has created new resources to help colleges implement CCCAssess, the new assessment tool that was custom designed for the CCC.

Nearly 40 colleges are early adopters and are preparing this summer to rollout CCCAssess in Fall 2016 for placement in Spring 2017.

All colleges can get started now to plan for using the new assessment by watching a new movie that explains the project’s goals and expected impact. Additionally, faculty can dive into mapping competencies to local courses using a new online tutorial. And an ambassador program has been announced that can send experts to your college. CAI continues to offer regional professional development sessions and other resources on the initiative’s website (see listing, below).

Movie Introduces CAI To Colleges

To provide an introduction to CAI and explain the benefits to colleges and students, CAI has posted a movie that can be used by implementation teams. Produced by the CAI Professional Development Workgroup, led by Saddleback College, CAI appreciated the support from Cabrillo College and Sacramento City College that are featured in the movie.

The film helps viewers to understand some of the broad, statewide involvement by faculty, staff and researchers in planning for and developing the assessment, explained Marina Aminy, Dean of Online Education and Learning Resources (Interim) and Project Director for Professional Development for the CAI.

“It captures the energy and inspiration behind the common assessment, and underscores the broad scope of this project,” said Aminy. “In essence, the video reminds viewers that this aspiration to create a statewide common assessment is anything but ‘common.’”

Aminy suggested that colleges view the video during the first implementation team meeting, as a means of introducing the concept and planning behind the common assessment. Watch the Common Assessment Introduction Video.

Josh Roberts, English Department Chair, Sacramento City College, and CAI Steering Committee memberTutorial: Mapping Assessment To Courses

A new instructional video on how to map course competencies to items in the new common assessment has just been posted on Each college will design its own placement model incorporating data from CCCAssess and Multiple Measures. The first step is mapping the competencies in the CCCAssess test to local college courses.

According to Josh Roberts, English Department Chair, Sacramento City College, and CAI Steering Committee member, the new CCCAssess provides faculty with tools to better place students in specific courses offered at each campus.

“Instead of scores and generic suggestions about which course might best match the numerical score generated by most assessment tools, CCCAssess creates a student competency profile which can be connected to specific locally offered courses,” Roberts said. The assessment test items were based on the CCCAssess competency maps that were developed by CCC faculty.

“By tying the CCCAssess competency maps to local courses, you have a much better placement method to predict student success,” Roberts said.

To help faculty with mapping, CAI developed an online tutorial, Local Faculty Preparation for the Common Assessment, that explains mapping local course competencies to the assessment. Patrick Wall, Delta College, and David Beydler, Mt. San Antonio College, and other workgroup members worked with Roberts to create the tutorial.

“The mapping process sounds daunting, but it is much less complicated than it seems,” Roberts said. “I worked with another English faculty member for about an hour to complete the process.”

The first step is to identify the courses that students can be placed into through CCCAssess, such as transfer level, one level below transfer and two levels below transfer. The tutorial makes use of the competency maps developed by CAI faculty workgroups for math, English and English as a Second Language (ESL) which are organized into Competency Categories and Sub-Competencies. Then the tutorial shows where to enter in — or “map” — the local courses on the CAI competency maps.

As a result of the customized mapping, a student’s assessment results will be directly tied to the specific courses offered at the local campus. Although the student only takes the assessment once, the data is interpreted at each college based on their local placement model.

Roberts says that CCCAssess will be very beneficial to both faculty and students. “Once all 113 California Community Colleges are using CCCAssess and we’ve released a couple of versions of the platform, I expect that we will be the envy of the nation,” he said. “We will have granular data on students unlike any other educational institution and will be able to track data statewide. Additionally, we can focus on the skills needed as students come from K-12 schools and go to California State University and University of California, so we can increase students’ success along their educational pathways.”

Select An Ambassador For July Training

If your college will start using CCCAssess in Fall 2016 or Spring 2017, now is the time to select a representative to be your campus CAI specialist. This CAI Ambassador will be your on-campus CAI expert and will serve as the first resource for your school in providing information and resources to support the successful implementation of CCCAssess. CAI will host Ambassador training July 27-28 in Palm Springs. For more information, please contact Amy Beadle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CAI Resources

Visit the CCCAssess website for information about the CAI college adoption schedule, a CAI Implementation Guide, an application for Implementation Grant funding and upcoming Professional Development sessions (July 29 in Ontario, and in the Chico and Fresno areas in September).

View the CAI Introductory Movie and the Mapping Tutorial video.


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