Course-Level Continuous Improvement Plans

State legislation requires that all undergraduate courses typically enrolling 100 students or more must have a continuous improvement plan in place. With the diversity of courses impacted, individual faculty member involvement is critical to the development and implementation of successful courses and successful course assessments. There are many effective ways to facilitate and assess student learning, which will vary based on such factors as academic discipline, specific course content, academic level of course, class size, and instructor/student learning preferences. Therefore, faculty members will have great flexibility in the implementation of course-level improvement plans for each course. However, there is an expectation that the plans will:

  • be based on course-level outcomes,
  • make use of formative and/or summative assessments,
  • make decisions related to course changes based on assessments, and
  • include a feedback loop to reflect upon the impact/success of changes.

Examples of assessment strategies that might be used in a continuous improvement plan include the following:

  • specific exam or quiz questions
  • a rubric-scored term paper
  • juried exhibit or performance
  • review of student portfolio
  • peer assessed presentation or project
  • faculty/professionally assessed presentation or project
  • licensure or standardized tests connected to course outcomes
  • student survey/evaluation on course outcomes

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) can assist faculty with resources on developing measurable course objectives connected to course outcomes and assessment strategies.

Reporting Requirements
Staff in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Office of Institutional Research compile information on the continuous improvement plans via a brief Qualtrics survey. A pdf version (280KB) of the survey is available for review. (Note: There is response logic built into the survey, so respondents will not answer all questions in the pdf file.) In April each year, individuals identified to submit a report for a course will receive an email invitation from Institutional Research to complete the online survey. Questions about the survey process should be directed to Julie LaBianca.

The legislation requires that the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, submit an annual report to the legislature on the continuous improvement plans. To meet this requirement, Iowa State compiles an annual summary report (PDF, 168KB) based on the Qualtrics survey responses. 

General questions about Iowa State’s implementation of this legislation may be directed to Shawn Boyne.


Students and instructor in a lab