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Common Assessment Initiative representatives at the CATESOL 2016 Conference, left to right: Oranit Limmaneeprasert, American River College; Dana Miho, Mt. San Antonio College; Nancy Frampton, Madera Community College Center (Reedley College); Gabriella Nuttall, Sacramento City College; Amy Beadle, CAI Program ManagerThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) recently presented at the California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL) conference to discuss status of the statewide common assessment.

Members of the CAI ESL Work Group shared information and answered questions about local competency mapping and other aspects of CCCAssess, while CAI Program Manager Amy Beadle provided an update on the initiative and reassured attendees that — despite the delayed rollout schedule — work to date is not lost and efforts continue to move forward.

It is crucial for ESL faculty to stay informed about the common assessment, according to Gabriella Nuttall, ESL professor at Sacramento City College, and CAI ESL Work Group member, who coordinated the panel discussion. “CATESOL conferences are a great opportunity to present CAI updates to faculty from California colleges’ credit and noncredit programs,” Nuttall said.

Beadle added that the conference was an opportunity to inform the CAI community about how “specific areas of the work are moving forward at a time when the overall project has been delayed for review.”

Launch On Hold

CAI had aimed for a Fall 2016 limited pilot college implementation of CCCAssess, with a staggered rollout schedule for the remaining colleges. This limited release plan was adjusted when ACT announced that it would sunset COMPASS Nov. 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.

CAI Presentation

The CATESOL 2016 Annual Conference was held in San Diego, Nov. 17-20, with the theme of “2020 Vision: Embracing the Past—Planning the Future.”

The CAI presentation given by Beadle on Nov. 18 focused on the work that’s been done to create and refine a portable test that covers the curricular areas of math, English and ESL, and supports Multiple Measures integration. A panel discussion followed, with members of the CAI ESL Work Group answering questions about the ESL portion of the assessment, local competency mapping and more. Panel members included Dana Miho, ESL Professor at Mt. San Antonio College; Gabriella Nuttall, ESL Professor at Sacramento City College; Laura Walsh, ESL Professor at City College of San Francisco; and Nancy Frampton, ESL Instructor at Reedley College/Madera Community College Center.

Feedback was good, and showed a high level of faculty engagement with the initiative, Beadle said.

"At every conference that I attend and present at, I am always amazed at the passion that attendees have for their students and how to best support them and guide them toward success,” she said. “Attendees at CATESOL were very excited to hear about CCCAssess and how it would help support student success."

Test Review & Development Continues

Beadle noted that the CCCAssess review process continues, and encouraged attendees to get involved by joining a work group or bias review committee to review the new test items developed by CCC faculty in partnership with Link-Systems International.

Bias review committees are made up of California educators, students, parents and community leaders representing a variety of cultural and educational perspectives. Participants review the new items and provide feedback on their appropriateness regarding potential bias and sensitivity issues. The first set of review meetings took place in Sacramento on Nov. 30. For information about upcoming review meetings, contact CAI Program Director Jennifer Coleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Content work groups are also busy reviewing test questions that were flagged during the first pilot round. When a question is flagged it means it did not produce the expected outcome -- for example, the correct answer was C but the preponderance of students chose D.

Additionally, new test items are being developed including a writing sample and a listening component for ESL. The CAI is currently drafting items and reviewing resources and current practices at colleges to determine how it will establish the listening component within CCCAssess in a way that will be common for all users. For the writing sample, the CAI is finalizing requirements with additional faculty feedback via the Academic Senate for CCC in preparation for a Request for Proposals.

Assessment Resources

For the early-adopter colleges affected by the CCCAssess timeline interruption, several options are available. The Chancellor’s Office has extended approval for tests that are currently approved. Additional options are also available to colleges.

Resources are available for those colleges affected by the delay in the rollout schedule. Please refer to the Timeline Update page at for more information on available options.

Crista Souza is the TechEDge News Editor