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 enables “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 reviewed 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,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 serves 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 are the building blocks that fit into the framework of the degrees. Ultimately, the C-ID system allows 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.