Contact CAE at [email protected] to measure your student’s readiness for their next step

Are Your Students Ready for Their Next Step?

Assessing College and Career Readiness Skills Since 2002

Content knowledge is no longer sufficient for college and career success.

CAE’s performance-based assessment, the College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+), authentically measures the college and career readiness skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and effective written communication, providing students and educators with valid and reliable insights into students’ readiness for their next step.  These are the skills most in demand by higher education institutions and employers.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Written Communications

Many districts are focused on college and career readiness, and many states now require evidence of student progress toward these goals. While the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and effective written communication are key components of college and career readiness, institutions do not have a consistent, proven approach to assess these skills. Most are left with using numeracy and literacy tests, specific to subject areas, or using college entrance exams.

CAE’s performance-based assessments provide a more complete picture of students’ readiness for their next step – whether moving from middle school to high school or from high school to higher education or the workforce. CCRA+, for students in grades 6 through 12, serves as an effective instrument for diagnosing students’ strengths and opportunities for improvement to increase future success. 

CAE’s data show that 60% of students entering college are not proficient in these skills and that these skills are predictive of positive outcomes in college and career.


Performance-Based Assessment of College and Career Readiness

CAE goes beyond multiple choice. CCRA+ diagnoses student strengths and opportunities for improvement, providing reliable insights to students, educators, and institutions.

To assess students’ readiness for their next step, CCRA+ situates students in real-world scenarios that require purposeful written responses.

Students are asked to address issues, propose solutions to problems, and recommend courses of action appropriate to resolving conflicts. They are instructed to support their responses by utilizing information provided within the assessment, which may include reference materials such as technical reports, data tables, newspaper articles, office memoranda, and emails.

There is no single “correct” answer, and scores reflect a range of plausible and effective response strategies – a process that, by design, mimics real-world, complex decision environments.

Students are challenged to:

  • Analyze and understand data;
  • Evaluate the credibility of various documents;
  • Identify questionable or critical assumptions;
  • Deal with inadequate, ambiguous, and conflicting information;
  • Identify additional information that would help resolve issues;
  • Construct an organized and logically cohesive argument by providing elaboration on facts or ideas (e.g., explaining how evidence bears on the problem, providing examples, and emphasizing especially convincing evidence);
  • Organize and synthesize information from several sources; and
  • Marshal evidence from different sources in a written response.

College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+)

CCRA+ measures students’ readiness for their next step and identifies approaches to improve readiness. CCRA+ is delivered online through CAE’s integrated Next Step platform. The assessment can be used in class, with remote proctoring, or any combination. Results can be analyzed at multiple levels to answer your critical questions.

Student Diagnostic:


  • Setup, training, administration and customer support
  • Student Diagnostic and Institution reports including Mastery Level distribution and Performance Task and Selected Response sub-score averages – compared to CAE’s U.S. data set
  • Preliminary reports in 1-2 weeks, final reports in 4-6 weeks
  • Professional Development: One (1) hour review of Institution report
  • Micro-credentials (optional)

Student Diagnostic Report

Detailed Subscore Report

Institution Report


CAE, a non-profit provider of performance-based assessments, authentically measures students’ essential college and career skills.

Critical Thinking


Measure critical thinking, problem solving, and effective written communication skills to create a more complete picture of students’ readiness for college and career.



Leverage reliable and valid assessments aligned to current assessment models, education research, and best practices – backed by 20+ years of research and use.

Problem Solving

Detailed Insights

Institutional and student level reports identify how you can best support students during their academic journey and increase their success in their next step.


Full Service

Access a full range of assessment services including custom performance-based assessment solutions, psychometrics, and more.

Ensure Your Students Are Ready for Their Next Step!