After a program has articulated its student learning outcomes, the next step in assessment is typically to identify where they are being addressed in the curriculum. One way to do this is with a curriculum map, which is a visual overview of which courses and experiences in your program foster the knowledge, skills, and values represented by your outcomes.

To construct a curriculum map, create a table that has your courses represented by the rows, and column headings representing your program's learning outcomes:

CourseTitlePLO 1PLO 2PLO 3PLO 4PLO 5
PROG 101 Intro I   I   I
PROG 201 Methods   I D I D
PROG 301 Advanced Topics D D   D  
PROG 399 Capstone Project M M M M M

Once you’ve constructed the table, complete it by indicating whether the knowledge, skill or value represented by a given learning outcome is introduced (I), developing (D), or being mastered (M) in a given course - as in the example above. Here is a template for creating a curriculum map.

Uses for curriculum maps:

In addition to helping you determine where in the curriculum your learning outcomes are being addressed, there are many uses for curriculum 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 - for example, by addressing an outcome in additional courses, or restructuring the curriculum so that students receive earlier practice with material related to a given outcome.