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Grade & Assess

View the UMD official Course Grading policies.

Assurance of Learning

The Assurance of Learning Initiative (AoL), is the primary tool used to make sure that we at the Maryland Smith School are equipping our students with the skills, knowledge, and behaviors they need to be successful in their future careers.

Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum maps provide a comprehensive view of a student’s academic journey within a given degree program. These maps lay out the intended systematic and incremental competency growth of students as they complete each course.

Curriculum mapping can answer the following questions:

  • What key skills should our students demonstrate at a high level of mastery upon graduation? (You can also design a mastery grid to help answer that question)
  • How will the program structure courses so that students progress from an introduction of key concepts to mastery of critical skills?
  • What gaps or overlap exist in the curriculum? And how can it be addressed?

Write Effective Learning Objectives

Including effective learning objectives in your course design and syllabus simplifies assessment (and grading) and clarifies to the students what skills they should have upon completion of the course.  Aligning your assignments with specific learning objectives in your syllabus shows students how their assignments relate to the course goals, their expected skills, simplifies grading, and data reporting.


Rubrics keep grading fair and equitable. They save faculty members time in grading and ensure consistency across sections. And for students, they clarify where in the assignment they thrived or need to develop. Kansas State University provides an excellent guide for designing your own rubrics and OTL is happy to help with this process. Ensure you include syllabus language addressing expectations and grading. Download one of our sample rubrics below:

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