In 2006, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges responded to legislative calls for a common course numbering system through the implementation of the Course Identification Numbering System (C-ID). This supranumbering numbering system provides a common, intersegmental mechanism to help in the identification of similar courses. Typically, these courses are lower division major preparation courses that have been approved by UC and CSU campuses as meeting articulation standards. C-ID numbers are assigned to a specific transfer course and accompany existing local course numbers. C-ID expands on the foundational efforts of CAN, IMPAC, and LDTP, benefiting from the work accomplished and the lessons learned.
C-ID will enable “descriptor-based articulation,” allowing the four-year institutions to make articulation decisions based on the C-ID number rather than individual course outlines. C-ID faculty discipline review groups include faculty from all three segments who meet to develop descriptors that include the minimum content for a course. Once there is agreement about those descriptors, the course descriptor is assigned a C-ID number. Individual community colleges then submit local course outlines that are judged by faculty evaluators against the descriptors, and each course designated as a match will have the specific C-ID supranumber appended to its local numeric designation. Each C-ID number identifies a specific lower-division, transferable course commonly articulated between the CCCs and UC and CSU, as well as with many of California’s independent colleges and universities.
While C-ID’s focus is on courses that transfer, some disciplines may opt to develop descriptors for courses that will not transfer to the UC or CSU systems. C-ID provides a structure to identify comparable courses and a means of facilitating articulation.
C-ID has the potential to make valuable contributions to the process of improving and clarifying transfer paths across all segments of California higher education. Ultimately, the project will serve as a common numbering system that improves curricular consistency for courses throughout the state, regardless of local course numbering systems. As CCCs and CSUs develop associate degrees for transfer, courses with C-ID numbers will become the building blocks that fit into the framework of the degrees. Ultimately, the C-ID system will allow students to identify the right courses to assemble their transfer pathways, even if they are attending different colleges, each with its own local numbering system.