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California Community Colleges students mingle on campus.After careful consideration, the launch of CCCAssess, the online tool being developed by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI), is delayed, pending additional validation tests.

CCCAssess is a common assessment tool being developed for all California community colleges, providing an accurate review of student readiness for college-level math, English and/or ESL courses.

CAI had aimed for a Fall 2016 limited pilot college implementation with a staggered rollout schedule for the remaining colleges. This limited release plan was adjusted when ACT announced that it would sunset COMPASS November 30, 2016. The 30-plus colleges using COMPASS were then scheduled to adopt CCCAssess in Fall 2016.

The adoption rollout is now delayed while CAI project staff, the CCC Chancellor’s Office assessment committee and outside expert consultants review the test items developed for CCCAssess. The additional review was required to confirm the instrument meets the high standards required to assess incoming students accurately and consistently.

Prior to the adoption rollout, the CCCAssess instrument was thoroughly reviewed by the Buros Center, an extension of the University of Nebraska Education Department, specializing in research instrument verification. The review raised concerns about the validity of the instrument; therefore, the Buros Center recommended additional testing to ensure questions are measuring what they purport to be, and to produce consistent and fair results across California’s diverse student population.

Delay Not Unusual

Debra Connick, Vice Chancellor for Technology, Research and Information Systems at the Chancellor’s Office, stated that completing the CAI assessment tool and providing colleges with this service is of the highest priority for the Chancellor’s Office. Connick was echoed by Pamela Walker, Vice Chancellor for Educational Services, who indicated that such delays are not unusual for a project this complex and far-reaching.

The delay in the launch puts the approximately 35 colleges that opted to participate in the Fall 2016 adoption in the position of extending student assessment services from their current vendor or finding a new vendor to cover the gap until the launch of CCCAssess. Many colleges use COMPASS for student assessment, a product that is being discontinued at the end of the year.

Interim Plan Being Discussed

CAI project and Chancellor’s Office staff are currently working on a detailed plan that articulates next steps, including a realistic timeline for the project and options to meet the affected colleges’ assessment needs. That plan should be complete and made available within the next few weeks.

“The entire CAI project is a huge collaborative effort involving the entire CCC community. The delay does not destroy or discount the amount of work that has taken place,” said Craig Rutan, CAI Steering Committee Co-Chair and Area D Representative for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. “This project is not going to fail. We need a new timeline, and we need to work together to complete the project.”

More information, including options for colleges directly affected by the delay, is available at CCCAssess.org and the Chancellor's Office Assessment web page.


Debra Connick is the Vice Chancellor for Technology, Research and Information Systems at
the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

Pamela Walker is the Vice Chancellor for Educational Services at
the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

Craig Rutan is the Steering Committee Co-Chair for
the California Community Colleges Common Assessment Initiative,
and Area D Representative for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges