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CCC faculty members collaborate on design of the common assessment system at a workshop held in July 2015.Participants in the development of the California Community Colleges (CCC) new common assessment platform identified “uncommon collaboration” as a key indicator of success in the creation and eventual systemwide rollout of CCCAssess.

The finding is from the RP Group’s May 2016 administration of the CAI Process Survey, which evaluates stakeholder engagement among the individuals participating in the CCC Common Assessment Initiative (CAI).

A diverse group of community college representatives, along with three project partner colleges and the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges, is guiding the implementation of CCCAssess.

Tim Nguyen, Senior Researcher for the RP Group, is the evaluator for CAI who conducted a survey of the 138 representatives shaping the creation of CCCAssess. “We had 82 responses, or a 59-percent response rate to the survey,” he said.

“Consistent with the past year’s survey, faculty commented on the high degree of collaboration they experienced, and indicated that they appreciated participating and being involved in developing CCCAssess,” Nguyen noted.

The survey was part of the formative assessment administered to the project management team, steering committee and work groups representing English, ESL, math, Multiple Measures, platform, professional development and the test development process.

Confidence In CAI Increases

One of the more dramatic changes Nguyen noted was the increase in the degree of confidence participants had in the CAI’s ability to achieve what it set out to do.

“In 2016, 76 percent indicated a confidence that the CAI will accomplish its goals by its planned timelines, compared to 59 percent in 2015,” Nguyen said. “When the 2015 survey was administered, CAI had decided to custom-develop the platform and assessments, but had not yet revised the original timelines, which had not anticipated building the common assessment system from the ground up. Now CCCAssess is well underway, and that seems to have instilled more confidence among the team in the initiative’s ability to meet objectives.”

CCCAssess Platform Work Group members discuss features and functionality at a September 2015 meeting.“The 2016 survey found that 94 percent of respondents were very satisfied or satisfied with the decision to custom-develop CCCAssess, and 91 percent were very satisfied or satisfied with the progress made in the past year to develop CCCAssess,” Nguyen said.

Consistently Positive Experiences

In other questions, survey respondents were consistently positive in their ratings of their experiences with the initiative, with well above 90 percent strongly agreeing or agreeing with the opportunities for discussion, clarity and awareness of initiative goals and timelines, and effective project management.

On the survey, participants’ open-ended comments further indicated the value they placed on inclusiveness, collaboration and effectiveness. Below is a sampling of some of these comments:

“The leadership is doing a great job considering how complex the project is!”

“Broad inclusion of diverse voices across all areas. Inclusive approach to developing the CAI.
Commitment to moving the project in a positive direction.”

“Faculty workgroups are diligent, responsible and committed to their goals.”

According to Nguyen, the survey results were positive. “The CAI team should continue to feel good about their work over these past few years,” he said. “Participants complimented the project management team, appreciated being involved in the project, and enjoyed the discussions and voicing their ideas.”

Several survey participants explained their experience further in their comments when asked what was going well:

“Communication between leadership and the workgroups.”

“Communication is strong. The test seems to be coming together.”

They were also pleased with the progress made in the past year. As a few respondents shared:

“What amazes me is where the project was a year ago and where it is now.”

“The initiative is making huge progress very rapidly.”

Nguyen said the survey responses showed that participants are looking forward to what’s next. “They are waiting to see how CCCAssess looks when it is rolled out on their campuses,” he said. “Some of the recommendations for the next stage were to provide more functional information on how CCCAssess will affect their colleges and how they can use the assessment data to support their students.”

Some of the respondents’ requests were for more specific communication about implementation and adoption:

“More specific guidelines to help colleges prepare for the transition.”

“The logistics of actually deploying the test, and accessing the data on placement and for validation activities.”

CAI is currently creating materials, webinars and other professional development resources to address these needs and they will be posted on the newly updated CAI website at

CAI Ambassador Training, July 27-28

If your college will start using CCCAssess in Fall 2016 or Spring 2017, your college can select up to two people to attend training to become local CAI Ambassadors. Instructional faculty, counseling, IT, administration, research or assessment center representatives may be selected as CAI Ambassadors, and will be trained to be your on-campus CAI experts.

CAI will host Ambassador training on 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..

Regional CAI Professional Development, July 29

The next CAI professional development session is open to participants on your college CAI implementation team, and will be held July 29 at the Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles in Commerce, Calif. Register at

Other regional sessions are planned for Sept. 1 in the Redding area, Sept. 16 in the Fresno area and during Oct. in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CAI Resources

CCCAssess Website
CAI Introductory Movie
Mapping Tutorial
College Adoption Schedule
Implementation Guide
Apply For An Implementation Grant
Professional Development

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