Mapping Course Objectives to Program Outcomes

An aligned program articulates how course learning objectives, learning activities, and assessments map to program outcomes. This alignment ensures that each aspect of a student’s learning journey leads them towards mastering skills and content knowledge vital to the discipline.

What is a Curriculum Map?

A Curriculum Map identifies how a selection of courses align with a set of outcomes. An accurate curriculum map helps faculty answer:

  • Are all outcomes being taught?
  • Does the sequence of outcomes make sense?
  • Are courses sufficiently covering all outcomes?
  • What changes, if any, can we make to improve coverage?

How Do We Map Courses to Program Outcomes?

The most effective curriculum maps align course learning objectiveto program outcomes. This depth of mapping offers a detailed and precise alignment, ensuring each aspect of the curriculum contributes to the intended outcomes.

Mapping Course Outcomes to Program Objectives

Outcome Scales

Most programs map with a Yes/No or 1/0 on a curriculum map. This is a great place to start. Some programs may choose to use an Outcome Scale that enables them to have additional granularity in their mapping. There are a variety of outcomes scales, each ranging from 3-4 different levels. For example:

  • Introduce, Reinforce, Master
  • Introduce, Reinforce, Demonstrate
  • Introduce, Emphasize, Reinforce, Assess

Outcome scales help to determine the scaffolding of a course. While helpful, using outcome scales is a programmatic decision, so check with your academic leadership first.

Best Practices

Course learning objectives rarely map to all program outcomes. Avoid this temptation. A curriculum map identifies how a selection of courses collectively maps to a set of outcomes. Instead, focus on how a course learning objective maps to one or more outcomes (but not all).

Curriculum maps should begin with required courses. If the curriculum map includes electives, the result will be an inaccurate representation of program outcome coverage. When including electives, be mindful of the varied experiences of students.

Courses that have multiple sections likely have identical course learning objectives. To ensure accurate mapping, relevant faculty should coordinate their mapping.


For assistance, please reach out to Jonathan Cisco, Director of Educational Assessment.

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