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Course-Level Assessment

Each CMU course has clearly articulated course-level student learning outcomes established in the Master Course Syllabus (MCS). Faculty and instructional staff guide student learning through each course, which often advances the academic program goals. Frequent course-level assessments provide regular feedback to faculty about student progress and the effectiveness of teaching methods, along with providing students a means of appraising their own learning. 

Master Course Syllabus (MCS)  

The Master Course Syllabus (MCS) is the official record of a course containing the appropriateness, scope, and quality of the course to a variety of constituents. The Academic Senate Office maintains the current Master Course Syllabus for each course.​​ Additional information on the MCS can be found in CMU's Curriculum Authority Document (CAD). Critical components of the MCS for assessment purposes include the following:  

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

These should build on student knowledge and prior experiences.  

Rationale for the course

Rationale MUST explain the reasoning for the course level and why it is not at a lower/higher level. Rationale should begin to provide support for the student learning outcomes (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 outcomes

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. It is recommended that the College Assessment Coordinator review the course SLOs before an MCS is entered into the curricular process. 

Learner-Centered: the 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. 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 aligns with the SLOs.  

Sequence: ensure the sequence of topics makes 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 the 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.​