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Maximizing Learning Outcomes: Aligning Goals and Standards in Blackboard

the goals and standards option in Blackboard Ultra is highlighted with bright green highlighter.

Our institution strives to provide effective programs and curricula that not only meet standards but also achieve their desired outcomes. A key element in this endeavor is the alignment of goals with course content and activities. Blackboard, our Learning Management System (LMS), empowers instructors to seamlessly integrate these goals into their teaching methods and demonstrate the effectiveness of their courses or programs by aligning goals and standards to assessments. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters, LTS will be looking for instructors interested in piloting this feature to better understand areas where their course could improve, and where students are successfully learning the course objectives.


Understanding the Significance of Goals and Standards

Learning outcomes, also referred to as goals, objectives, or standards, define what students should know or be capable of upon completing a course, program, or degree. Aligning course content and assessment with these learning outcomes offers several advantages:

  • Focus on knowledge and skills: Learning outcomes pinpoint exactly what students need to achieve in terms of knowledge and skills.
  • Guiding student learning: They provide clear guidance to students, reducing ambiguity about what they need to do to succeed.
  • Illustrating student capabilities: Learning outcomes describe the intellectual and practical skills students will possess upon course completion.

Interested in Goals? Contact LTS to get started!

the goal performance dashboard

The Outcome Assessment Process in the LMS

Using learning outcomes as a measure of student success involves a formative and summative assessment process. When an instructor aligns course content, assignments, and assessments with a set of learning outcomes, once grading is completed (data collected) they can clearly see where students are at, and if they have mastered the given outcome. Blackboard offers the functionality to streamline this process, allowing institutions to quantify student success using data gathered from within the LMS. The process involves several key steps:

  1. Creating assessments or content – you can align goals to discussions, written papers, quizzes, or even content students would watch or read.
  2. Aligning goals with course content – matching goals to an assessment or content.
  3. Running reports on student performance – you can view reports that can start an inquiry into what is working well and what could use revision in your course.
    1. Student performance – This is a student-centric view measuring how a particular student has performed against the stated outcomes. This is measured by reporting their performance against all graded items aligned to an outcome.
    2. Course performance – This is a course-centric view that shows all student performance against a particular learning outcome. Instructors can view this report for the Outcome / Students in their course.
  4. Adjust the course content/assessments as needed – adjust where you think they will have the biggest impact in mastering the course goals/objectives.


Working with an ID at IDMPS or our staff at LTS within our Goals and Standards pilot is the first step in understanding how to build out your course in the LMS. Aligning goals and standards within Blackboard is a powerful tool that demonstrates course/program effectiveness and ensures that course content and assessments are in harmony with their educational objectives. This feature also provides a clear roadmap for students, guides their learning, and assesses their progress effectively. Additionally, the outcome assessment process ensures that learning outcomes are quantifiable, providing valuable insights into student performance.