Educational Goals for Academic Programs
We know you care about offering quality programs to your students.
Educational goals can provide you with a framework to identify what is working well in your program and how these strengths can be expanded upon.
Developing and assessing educational goals can:
- Help you understand more about how well students in your program are learning important information and skills,
- Encourage more discussions among instructors, based on actual data, about how to best teach and help students learn across different subjects,
- Provide you with a framework to identify what is working well in your program and how these strengths can be expanded upon.
- Before you start, review your educational goals and your curriculum map to make sure your educational goals still make sense in the context of your program and discipline.
- You don’t need to assess all educational goals in every course. The best courses to assess are those towards the end of degrees.
- Start small by focusing on a particular educational goal that is especially important to your program.
- To help frame your approach, think about what questions are important to your unit. For example, “Are our students able to communicate well in writing?” or “We just changed our program to improve students' knowledge in X area. How are they doing?”
- Decide what kind of direct and indirect data you will be collecting—your assessment should include a combination of both. Direct measures are examples of student work that demonstrate their attainment of an educational goal and can be taken from student assignments, such as scores on exam questions that align with an educational goal, projects and portfolios. Indirect measures are other indicators that students attained an educational goal and can come from alumni perceptions, faculty perspectives or reports from co-op advisors. See examples by downloading the Educational Goals Data Assessment Toolkit.
- Most important, remember that the work that you and your colleagues put into the educational goals process can only have an impact if your findings are acted on. This could include changing an assignment, adding a new course to address a gap or changing the sequence of courses.
Process overview & timeline
The process of developing, assessing and acting on educational goals is faculty-led and part of the external review cycle. The steps are as follows:
- Define and map your goals
- Choose goals to assess
- Identify data sources (PDF)
- Gather, discuss and analyze data
- Make changes
Below is a timeline of the educational goals and external review.
A common mistake in educational goals assessment processes is using data that does not reflect whether students have achieved the program’s educational goals, such as student grades and Course Experience Survey results. For information on data sources that do indicate if students have achieved educational goals, download a PDF of our direct/indirect data table.
Find the templates here.
Support for your unit
Our goal is to help you approach the educational goals process in a way that reduces workload and maximizes value to your program and can help you wherever you are in the process.
- For support developing and assessing your educational goals, contact Learning Experiences Assessment and Planning (LEAP) at email@example.com
- Chairs and Directors seeking advice on the larger educational goals process in the context of external reviews, and support for how to engage stakeholders in their department or school, contact Elizabeth Elle, Vice-Provost, Learning and Teaching, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- For assistance with other aspects of the external review process, contact Glynn Nicholls, Director, Academic Planning and Quality Assurance at email@example.com
- For support implementing curricular changes resulting from your educational goals assessment, such as changing learning activities or assignments, re-designing courses or modifying course sequences, contact the Centre for Educational Excellence at firstname.lastname@example.org