Using Blackboard Goals to Monitor Curriculum and for Accreditation

A feature in Blackboard called Goals is available at GVSU. This capability allows faculty and departments to collect information for accreditation or other purposes as to how programs and curriculum aligns with course goals.


Faculty can align course content and assessments (eg. discussion forums and threads, blogs, journals, tests and individual questions, assignments, and Grade Center columns) to one or multiple goals.

Reports can then be run that display how students are performing in alignment with the associated course or department goals.


This post is by Dr. Szymon Machajewski from the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU who has used the Blackboard Goals feature in his CIS150 – Introduction to Computing Course.



Many reasons cause departments to seek continuous quality improvement in program and course curricula.  In the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU, there is a need to effectively support accreditation requirements as well as to focus on the improvement of the student experience.  To this end, the department designed an assessment plan that involves all faculty around the following claims:

  1. We know what we do
  2. We do it well
  3. We can prove it

A number of assessment tools can be used in collecting data and evidence in the improvement program such as:

  • Senior exit survey
  • Focus Groups
  • Internship supervisor survey
  • Comprehensive exit exam (standardized or local)
  • Student portfolios evaluated by committee
  • Faculty self-reflection about each course
  • External evaluators of student performance
  • Performance criteria within each course

As part of the program faculty collect samples of student work.  This may include making copies of each assignment and exam with representation for student high, average, and low performance.  The criteria for student performance should be measurable, defined by observable behavior, and identifying a specific standard (or minimum standard).

The Blackboard Goals feature allows instructors to mark assessments or content in Blackboard Learn courses as performance criteria to reach a curriculum goal.  While the curriculum goal does not have to be the same as a course learning objective, they often overlap.  In turn, Blackboard Learn collects student scores and compares them to set target performance level and average range.  This helps in identifying students who meet expectations or are outside of them.

The resulting Blackboard course performance report summarizes how students met the expected performance criteria against one or more set goals.  The course itself can be archived or copied to retain assessment artifacts and assignment samples.  The report is granular enough to provide a breakdown of academic performance per student on each assessment and curriculum goal.



Overall, the Goals feature in Blackboard Learn is a very useful tool for collecting academic data and including it in a larger, final report submitted for each course, which includes faculty reflections, student evaluation samples, assessment of previous adjustments, and proposed changes for the future.

Interested in learning more about using Blackboard Goals at GVSU? Please feel free to contact the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team.

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