The Code Alignment Project: A Faculty-led Process at California Community Colleges

The Code Alignment Project is a voluntary, faculty-led process for examining the reporting codes (TOP, CIP, SOC, and SAM) that have been assigned to courses and program awards. When codes are accurately assigned, colleges are better able to implement degree audit systems, can avoid inconsistencies in federal reporting, and see data that are consistent with similar programs in tools like Salary Surfer, Data Mart, and the LaunchBoard.

To participate in the project, colleges must first sign a College Commitment Form that spells out the responsibilities of participation and a contract with WestEd specifying the scope and costs.

Colleges must then participate in a kickoff meeting with WestEd to walk through the scope and specifics of the project that we have outlined in a Code Alignment Process Outline.

Next, colleges must complete a code map code map document that identifies which codes have been assigned to courses and awards in the target disciplines — sample code binder.

Most importantly, colleges must ensure that discipline faculty, curriculum committee members, deans, and researchers:

  • attend a webinar to understand the process of reviewing codes and
  • attend an in-person meeting to review program codes and their associated descriptors facilitated by curriculum and data experts — sample workshop agenda

At the in-person meeting, with support from experts, colleges will review a binder for each program that includes possible code descriptors based on current assignments and related codes. Colleges will then pick the correct codes based on curriculum content and labor market demand and later vet any code changes for approval.