Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Level 4: Program-level Assessment

Level 4: Program-level Assessment

The program’s curriculum mapping (from Level 3) guides assessment and iterative improvement of teaching and learning.

The curriculum mapping process can make assessment more efficient when it is used to identify course assessments (also known as embedded assessments) that can be used to assess one or more program-level outcomes. These assessments are direct measures of student performance (e.g., papers, projects, exam questions, performances, presentations, artistic work products, capstones). The process can also identify where indirect measures (e.g., student, alumni, and employer surveys or focus groups, university surveys) could be used to assess one or more outcomes.

Program faculty typically gather to review and discuss the program’s curriculum map (created in Level 3). This meeting can be one to several hours in duration, or a half-day or full-day retreat.  

A sample meeting agenda, with facilitation questions, is available

Best practices in program-level assessment and iterative improvement


Assessment processes are led by faculty committed to enhancing teaching and learning. Faculty commitment to these processes is paramount to their success.

Supported and resourced: 

Deans, Department and Program Heads enable these processes by embedding them into university-, college-, or department-level practices, by tracking and celebrating improvements, and by providing resources to conduct them. 

Various points and measures: 

Assessment is done at various points in the program (early, late) using a variety of direct and indirect measures.

Same rubrics for same outcomes: 

Faculty agree on and use the same rubrics or criteria to assess the same outcomes.


Faculty engage in an ongoing cycle of assessment—using assessment results to develop strategies to improve teaching and learning, and assessing these strategies, once implemented, to determine their effectiveness.

Transparent and connected: 

Curriculum maps are made public to students. Faculty make several explicit connections between course and program outcomes in their courses and explain how their courses will help students to apply their knowledge and skills.

CONTACT US to get support from an Eberly colleague to facilitate your curriculum mapping and assessment meeting.