Course-Level Assessment

Master Course Syllabus (MCS) 

The Master Course Syllabus (MCS) is the official record of a course containing the course description, prerequisites, co-requisites, recommended prior coursework and/or experiences, a rationale for course level, materials and other requirements, typical instructional formats, course objectives, an outline of topics, typical methods for student evaluation, and a bibliography.  The Academic Senate Office maintains the current Master Course Syllabus for each course.​​  Critical components of the MCS for assessment purposes include the following: 

​​​Prerequisites, Pre/Co-Requisites, Co-Requisites, etc: 

Should build on student knowledge and prior experiences 

Rationale for the Course: 

Rationale MUST explain reasoning for course level and why it is not at a lower/higher level. Rationale should begin to provide support for the SLOs by stating whether the course is an introduction to a content area, reinforcing content (assumes past knowledge), or an emphasis on content (expects upper-level rigor). ​ 

Student Learning Course Objectives: 

Significance: this critical section of the MCS defines the nature and scope of the course.  It must also support the overall program student learning outcomes.  All instructors must address these outcomes. 

Learner-Centered: objectives must articulate what students will gain with respect to knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values. 

Appropriateness of Wording: the objectives should be written in a manner that reflects the course level.  For instance, a 400-level course should have objectives that reflect higher cognitive order such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  While a 100-level course may reflect lower cognitive order such as comprehension, recall, etc. 

Observable Evidence: avoid objectives that are written in a non-measurable manner such as appreciation, understanding, knowing, becoming, expanding, increasing, etc. 

Suggested Course Outline: 

Alignment: ensure the scope of the topics align with the SLOs. 

Sequence: ensure the sequence of topics make sense to show a logical progression. 

Frequency of Evaluations: the outline should provide a logical presentation of when and where the evaluations occur. 

Suggested Course Evaluation:​ 

​​​​Ensure the evaluations appropriately support the learning objectives.  For instance, if the course is a 400-level course and is focused on integration of theories and concepts, one may expect to see an evaluation such as a project where the student is analyzing, synthesizing, and constructing arguments based on theories and concepts.​ 

Additional Resources 

You can find more information on course-level design and assessment best practices in our Design an Effective Course resources, including: 

  • Syllabus Design and Creation 
  • Authoring Learning Objectives or Outcomes 
  • Curriculum Mapping 
  • Assessment and Evaluation