Curriculum Mapping

Linking Student Learning Objectives to the Curriculum

The most effective departmental assessment plan is one that is closely linked to the curriculum and uses available information and resources to the greatest degree possible.

Curriculum mapping makes it possible to identify where within the curriculum your department learning objectives are addressed.

Curriculum mapping provides an inventory of the links between your learning objectives and the curriculum. It can also serve as a catalyst for discussion about proper sequencing of courses, the degree to which the curriculum really supports student learning, and the extent to which core learning objectives are appropriately addressed within the curriculum. Discussing the link between learning objectives and the curriculum may lead to a more general conversation about how the processes within the major facilitate or hinder accomplishment of program goals. You may find the following questions helpful in framing that discussion:

  • What are the processes (e.g., courses, activities, practices) under your control that contribute to meeting your department learning objectives?

  • Are there processes that don’t contribute to the learning objectives?

  • Are there processes in which you and your department should be engaged to attain your learning objectives?

  • Are there resources not under the control of your program that might assist you in improving student learning (e.g., general education, related minor program, courses offered outside of your major, library holdings, or other support services for students)?

(Adapted from the Western Carolina University Resource Guide (1999))

For more information about Curricular Mapping, visit the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and see their Mapping Learning toolkit.


Examples of Curriculum Mapping Matrices

Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department: Curriculum mapping matrix (in progress)

Finance Department: Table that maps student learning objectives to specific courses

Physics Department: Curriculum mapping matrix

History Department: This document has two tables. The first one provides a description for different levels of expertise for the department student learning objectives and the second one shows different levels of expectations for students’ course work.

Gen Ed Curriculum Mapping: Learning Objectives by Gen Ed Course Designations (2018)

Build your own matrix using the OAPA template: We provide an Excel file that has a matrix that might be helpful to you in identifying the links between student learning objectives and curricular processes.