After a department has articulated its student learning outcomes, the next step in assessment is usually to figure out where these outcomes are being addressed in the curriculum. One way to do this is with a curriculum map, which is a visual overview of where in your program you are fostering the desired knowledge, skills, and values. Another approach is to create an outcome map of the specific educational practices occurring within your program.

Curriculum Map

There are at least two different ways to complete a curriculum map, but all start with the same basic layout. To begin create a table that has your learning outcomes listed on the vertical axis, and courses horizontally across the top, as shown in the abbreviated example:










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Once you’ve constructed the table, select one of the following approaches to complete it:

1.  Overview Map: indicates if an outcome is addressed in a given course. To create an overview map place checkmarks in the cells of the table to indicate which outcomes are addressed by each course. 

2.  Levels Map: indicates the level at which an outcome is addressed in a given course. To create a levels map indicate with a letter whether the knowledge, skill or value of each learning outcome is introduced (I), developing (D), or being mastered (M) in each course. 

Outcome Map

An outcome map focuses on one learning outcome. The map is of the significant pedagogies, course content and assignments for that outcome. The outcome map provides you with a rich source of information about the range and frequency of experiences students have as they progress through your program. 

One way to create an outcome map is to construct a table for the outcome that lists required courses on one side and significant experiences related to the outcome on the other. 

Uses for maps:

In addition to helping you determine where in the curriculum your learning outcomes are being addressed, there are many uses for curriculum and outcome maps. For example, your map can help you:

  • Conduct a preliminary assessment of your curriculum. Are your outcomes consistent with what is happening in your curriculum? Perhaps there are learning outcomes that are not being fully addressed (or addressed at all). Consider that you might need to refine your outcomes or your curriculum.

  • Determine when/where/how to collect assessment data. There are most likely embedded assignments or activities that you can sample to assess your outcomes.

  • Determine where you can make changes for improvement after you’ve collected and analyzed assessment data.