Curriculum Mapping Initiative (CMI)

At Samuel Merritt University we developed a unique tool for assessing teaching and learning.

Link to CMI


Creating a Culture of Assessment

After a visit to Samuel Merritt University, the accrediting team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges wrote the following passage in their re-accreditation letter regarding usefulness of the tool developed by the SMU team.

"The University is to be commended for its accomplishments in developing the Curriculum Mapping Initiative. This CMI interactive tool is the culmination of considerable foundational work across the University to document the intricate alignment of numerous and diverse course-level outcomes and program-level student learning outcomes with the institution-wide Core Learning Competencies.

"The CMI [software] has permitted the SMU faculty to engage in meaningful conversations and programmatic improvements related to the cohesion, structure and comprehensiveness of the curriculum. It has also promoted faculty agreement and understanding of program learning outcomes within programs, and consideration of inter-disciplinary curricular development across programs."

Samuel Merritt University Curriculum Mapping Initiative Background

In 2007, SMU began a five-year plan of transformation -- moving from the instructional model (emphasizing instruction) and heading toward an educational model (emphasizing learning) or in the words of John Tagg "moving from an instructional paradigm to an educational paradigm".

The SMU faculty engaged in a multi-year Curriculum Mapping Initiative. Faculty from each Academic Program strategically defined and aligned institutional, program and course learning outcomes for every required course.

CMI Software

In 2010 we designed and developed a software application, to help manage, interpret, and analyze the Curriculum Mapping Initiative and named the software "CMI". The software helps facilitate a culture of assessment and makes it easy for faculty to see curricular strengths and weaknesses in order to improve at the course, program and institutional levels.

CMI uses visual maps to show the relationships between the learning outcomes at the institutional, program, and course levels and provides evidence of student learning demonstrating a fulfillment of the stated goals.

Viewers can select:

  • What type of analysis they want to conduct: institutional, program level, or course level.
    • Institutional-level users can get a 30,000 foot overview and see the outcomes for the entire institution.
    • Users see an impressionistic view of over 3000 data points on one screen.
  • An academic program or course and instantly compare the stated learning outcome with samples of authentic student learning to see if the student work demonstrates the intended outcomes.
  • Multiple views of the same information as well as innovative data visualization showing the relationships and links between learning outcomes and sample of authentic student work allows for analysis otherwise not possible.

Types of view:

  • Color coded maps
  • Bar charts
  • Lists