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Assessment & Curriculum Mapping

Assessment is the systematic process of data collection, analysis, and reflection to improve student learning.


Student assessment is a fundamental step in the teaching and learning process. Whether teaching at the undergraduate or graduate level, it is important for instructors to know how to methodically evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching by measuring how well students in the classroom are learning the material. Measuring student learning through assessment is important because it provides useful information to instructors and students about the extent to which students successfully meet course learning objectives. At the unit and school levels, assessment is a systematic approach used to understand students’ learning at a higher level so that our institution can evaluate and enhance its learning contexts. Evidence related to students’ learning allows us to leverage and celebrate our institution’s strengths and informs decisions to change or refine elements related to students’ learning experiences.

A curriculum map serves as a tool to outline where in the curriculum student learning outcomes are taught and assessed. It also shows that the course learning objectives are in alignment with program learning objectives. A curriculum map helps to ensure that there is a clear connection between expected learning and what is taught in the curriculum. This type of mapping analysis illustrates how courses within the curriculum build to construct the program.

At the Searle Center, we look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to increase capacity around assessment of student learning and curriculum mapping to move forward an institutional assessment strategy and course offerings that are centered in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

Assessment at Northwestern University

Assessment at Northwestern

Key principles and structures that guide assessment at Northwestern University

The Assessment Process

The assessment cycle and how to develop meaningful student learning objectives and assessments

Assessment Gallery

Share your program's latest assessment work and learn from others

FAQ & Definitions

Frequently asked questions about assessment and resources

Learning & Teaching Guides

Guides created by or in collaboration with the Searle Center to help educators and administrators explore and advance assessment and curriculum mapping.

In Our Library

A curated list of recommended books related to assessment and curriculum mapping available at the Menges Library, located in the Searle Center.

Further Resources

Our current recommendations for both foundational and leading-edge content related to course design and delivery.

Books, Articles and Papers

  • Driscoll, A., & Wood, S. (2007). Developing Outcomes-based Assessment for Learner-Centered Education: A Faculty Introduction. Stylus.
  • Henning, G.W., Baker, G.R., Jankowski, N.A., Lundquist, A.E., & Montenegro, E. (Eds.). (2022). Reframing Assessment to Center Equity. Stylus.
  • Montenegro, E., & Jankowski, N. A. (2017, January). Equity and assessment: Moving towards culturally responsive assessment (Occasional Paper No. 29). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).
  • Souza, J.M., & Rose, T.A. (Eds.). (2021). Exemplars of Assessment in Higher Education: Diverse Approaches to Addressing Accreditation Standards. Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) and Stylus.

Organization Websites

Calendar of Events

Below are all of our upcoming events related to assessment and curriculum mapping.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Campus Partners

We are proud to collaborate with and work alongside the following Northwestern University offices and organizations on assessment and curriculum mapping.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at