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Map Courses to Outcomes: Curriculum Maps

What is a curriculum map?

A curriculum map is a grid that aligns courses with program-level outcomes so you can see what is taught when, and how.

Why create a curriculum map?

Curriculum maps showcase where there may be gaps or overconcentration in the curriculum, encouraging reflection about course offerings and cohesion. It also provides a roadmap for program-level assessment by documenting in which course program-level outcomes are assessed.

How do I create a curriculum map?

(Excerpted from George Mason University's Office of Institutional Assessment)

1: Compile a list of the program’s student learning outcomes. Make a table with one program learning outcome per row.

2: List all the courses in the program, one per column. It is best to list all the courses in a degree program, not just core or required courses. Make sure to also include required experiences, such as field placement or an internship.

3: Use Xs to mark the learning outcomes that each course or experience covers.

4. Analyze the curriculum map, looking for any courses that don't address any learning outcomes, or any learning outcomes that aren't covered in any courses. Also question whether the department is doing too much overall and needs to eliminate outcomes that are not highly-valued and focus on those that are by including them in multiple courses.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) Course 1 Course 2 Course 3 Experience 1
PLO 1: Identify theoretical foundations X X X
PLO 2: Apply research methods X X
PLO 3: Communicate through writing X
PLO 4: Discuss ethics X

Go the next level!

  • Instead of X's, note where each learning outcome is Introduced ("I"), Reinforced ("R") and Mastered ("M"). That way you can track the sequential mastery of student knowledge in each of the learning outcomes required for completion of the program.

Want examples of good curriculum maps? Visit the Sample Tools page.

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