Connecticut Competency System (CCS)
The Connecticut Competency System is a uniform, standards-based assessment and instructional system that is implemented by adult education programs and other state agencies who share a common client base. It provides a comprehensive framework for a common core of competencies that youth and adults need in order to be fully proficient, lead productive lives and improve their ability to reach self-sufficiency. Adult education programs funded by the Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education are required to utilize the procedures outlined in the CCS Assessment Policies and Guidelines.
The CCS is based on the framework developed by the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS). The CASAS system is more than a series of assessments; it is a system that links:
- Curriculum (the CASAS competencies and Content Standards);
- Assessment (the available CASAS standardized assessments); and
- Instruction (e.g. the Quick Search software).
The CASAS curriculum framework is based on competencies and content standards that youth and adults need to function effectively in society. CASAS assessments measure an individual’s ability to apply basic literacy, numeracy, and communication skills to perform the competencies. CASAS assessments yield valid and reliable results and are approved for reporting progress through the National Reporting System (NRS) educational functioning levels. CASAS’ consortium approach also offers training and support to member states, and provides practitioners with opportunities for involvement in the test development process. The research foundations and psychometric theory for the CASAS system are detailed in the CASAS Technical Manual.
Training, technical assistance, and assessment materials to support the implementation of CCS are provided through the Adult Training and Development Network (ATDN), a program of the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) and EdAdvance.
CCS Program Facilitators
To administer CASAS reading, math, and listening assessments, adult education programs must ensure that a CCS Program Facilitator (see CCS Program Facilitator Contact List in the Adult Education Directory) is on staff or actively pursuing Facilitator status.
The Director’s designee becomes a Facilitator by completing:
CCS Training Parts 1 (The Appraisals), 2 (Survey Achievement Pre and Post Assessments), and 3 (Program Facilitator Professional Development). The CCS Advisory Group which is comprised of CCS Program Facilitators from several adult education programs assists the Bureau with the continuous improvement of CCS.
Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act Common Measures
The Department of Education assists the Department of Labor and the regional workforce investment boards in the development of policy and procedures for the implementation of the CCS standards in order to meet the requirements of the Literacy and Numeracy Gains common measure for out-of-school youth, and the basic skills testing of all WIOA Youth program participants (see CT DOL Memoranda AP 06-10). Follow up training and technical assistance are provided through ATDN.
The Department is piloting the use of CASAS eTests in Connecticut adult education programs. Programs are utilizing a computer-adaptive locator which immediately places students into the appropriate level intact CASAS pre- and post-test forms to measure progress.
Connecticut Adult Reporting System (CARS)
CARS is an Internet-based management information system for adult education and Even Start programs in Connecticut. The system collects many student characteristics including demographics, entry status, goals, attendance, assessments, and achievements. Data from CARS are a part of nearly every adult education report, research, or evaluation that is conducted by the Department.
• NEW: CARS Policies and Guidelines FY 2018-19
• NEW: Data Entry Forms FY 2018
• CARS Data Entry Contact List (in the Adult Education Directory)
Data-Driven Framework for Program Improvement and Accountability
Accountability processes ensure that public resources serve the needs of each community effectively, and help to create a better learning environment for students. The Connecticut Competency System (CCS) and the Connecticut Adult Reporting System (CARS) that are detailed above serve as the backbone of Connecticut adult education’s data-driven accountability and program improvement framework.
Each adult education provider is evaluated on a range of program quality measures that include recruitment, retention, assessment, goal-setting, and performance. The results of this evaluation inform the Department's on-site monitoring process, and guide other statewide and local program improvement and technical assistance efforts.
Tracking of Programs and Students (TOPS)
TOPS is a software that assists programs by automatically scoring standardized assessments and providing numerous reports for aligning assessment to instruction.
Download the CARS-TOPS Handbook