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Curriculum Mapping


The benefit of “curriculum mapping” is to see where your program outcomes are being covered in your curriculum so you can identify gaps or overlaps.  Essentially, curriculum mapping links each outcome with each course, especially those courses that are required of your majors.

  • Curriculum maps are a visual representation of your program and allow you to see how your students progress through your curriculum.
  • Curriculum maps can be simple or complicated and you can use them to whatever degree helps you make informed decisions about your program’s curriculum.
  • They will give you an opportunity to see if your students have adequate opportunities to be introduced to the material, practice the material, and finally, master the material.
  • Places where the curriculum can be strengthened become readily apparent.  Concepts that are being adequately covered also become readily apparent — giving faculty members solid information to make sequencing, course addition and other curriculum decisions.

How To:

Start with these questions:

  • What is being taught? (what are the learning objectives?)
  • Where is it being taught? (which courses and in what sequence?)
  • How much emphasis is given to it? (introduced, practiced, reinforced/mastered?)
  • Is it being learned? (where and how are we assessing learning?)

Sample Curriculum Map

Sample Curriculum Map

In the sample above, students have multiple exposures to each of the Student Learning Outcomes throughout the curriculum.  When looking for a place to see whether or not students actually achieved the outcome, a logical place would be in the courses where students would be expected to have mastered the outcome.

Points to Remember:

Not every course is going to contribute to every outcome — that’s okay.  Some courses will contribute to multiple outcomes, other courses will contribute to only one.  Some courses may contribute to none of the program learning outcomes but still be considered valuable contributions to the program for other reasons.  The map isn’t a judgment of good/bad, it is just a visual representation of the sequencing of the program and the exposure to the material that students who progress through the program can expect to experience.

Most programs will see that there may be gaps somewhere — either that students don’t have enough exposure to the material at lower levels and therefore not enough opportunities to master key concepts or that some key concepts are only addressed at lower levels and not addressed again at the higher levels.  This provides a good opportunity for program faculty to decide if the program outcomes need to be adjusted to meet the curriculum or if the curriculum needs to be adjusted to meet the program outcomes.