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California Community Colleges Common Assessment InitiativeNearly 50 people attended the first professional development session on local college implementation of the California Community Colleges (CCC) Common Assessment Initiative (CAI), held in December. More sessions will be offered in 2016.

Craig Rutan, Professor of Physics and Engineering at Santiago Canyon College, and Area D Representative for the Academic Senate for CCC explained the benefit of attending.

“Sessions like this are vital to ensure that faculty is informed about the common assessment and what work needs to happen at each campus,” he said. “Without a strong collaboration between everyone at the campuses, the common assessment may not be successful.”

Positive Response

According to Marina Aminy, Interim Dean of Online Education and Learning Resources at Saddleback College, and the CAI’s Project Director for Professional Development, feedback was overwhelmingly positive from attendees of the session, which took place Dec. 4, 2015, in Irvine.

“The CAI regional meeting was intended to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to learn about the progress of the common assessment,” Aminy said. “Faculty, staff and administrators had an opportunity to view the initial design of the new CCCAssess interface, hear about multiple measures and get a head start on creating their local implementation teams.”

“Most of those who attended reported that they gained a better understanding of overall progress as well as the local assessment implementation timeline and goals,” Aminy said.

Rutan agreed that the meeting was well received. “The participants were extremely positive about the session and the information provided,” he said. “Many of the attendees were able to have their questions answered and to express their concerns directly to the project team.”

A participant representing counseling faculty commented: “The overview was useful in getting me up to speed on the work that has been accomplished prior to being appointed assessment and multiple measures counselor.”

Attendees Previewed Platform

The Platform Work Group demonstrated the prototype of CCCAssess for attendees. “Stakeholders were able to get a sneak peak of the test interface,” Aminy said. “It offered a tangible, visible example of our progress.”

One meeting participant commented on the evaluation: “Preview of the platform was useful in thinking about how much the current process in the assessment center can potentially change.”

College representatives also offered useful feedback to the project team, according to Rutan. “Attendees were able to ask many questions that the project team hadn’t considered and will have to answer prior to launch,” he said.

Marina Aminy, CAI Professional Development Project DirectorMany Colleges Represented

Attendees represented English, ESL, math and counseling faculty, administrators, and assessment center, research and information technology staff. There were representatives from each of the 12 CAI pilot colleges as well as several other colleges.

The level of interest and enthusiasm for the new CCC common assessment was promising. “Stakeholders seemed to recognize that current local solutions to assessments are limiting,” Aminy said. “Attendees were genuinely engaged and interested in improving students’ experiences.”

Participants Prepared To Implement

The program helped colleges identify the first steps to take to implement CCCAssess at their campuses, Rutan explained. “The greatest value of the sessions was to provide faculty, staff and administration with accurate information about the common assessment,” he said.

Comments from attendees indicated that the event jump-started the process so they had an idea where to start preparations. Comments included, “I realize the necessity of getting administration involved and I want to facilitate getting this information to faculty,” “I learned how to start dialogues in our local college to prepare for the common assessment implementation,” and “I appreciate knowing what to expect so that we can prepare.”

You’re Invited To Attend

Representatives from college common assessment implementation teams should plan to attend upcoming professional development events, Rutan suggested.

“Faculty, staff and administration at campuses should attend one of these sessions to have the most current information available about the common assessment and how to prepare for local implementation,” Rutan said.

Colleges are encouraged to send teams comprised of English, ESL, math, reading and counseling faculty, researchers, assessment center staff and coordinators, IT personnel and administrators.

Upcoming meetings include:

  • Feb. 26 in Los Angeles – 10AM to 3:30PM at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel (RSVP by Feb. 22
  • March 11 in Sacramento – Details to be announced
  • April 15 in the San Francisco Bay Area – Details to be announced

More Professional Development Offered

In the next few months, webinars will be offered to help guide colleges through the implementation process. Additionally, CAI representatives will be making presentations at regional conferences. The website will also provide resources to help local implementation teams.

“We’re also working on a short introductory film that we’ll share with colleges as a way of increasing our presence on campuses,” Aminy added.

Let Us Help You

According to Aminy, the CAI team is eager to help colleges with implementation. “We are here for you, and we want your feedback, questions and concerns,” she said. “We want all stakeholders to feel comfortable with the transition to the common assessment.”

Learn more at

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