Skip to main content

CAP 4-Year Review

What is the 4-Year Review Process?

The CAP 4-Year Review process is an opportunity for faculty members and departments to reflect on a CAP course and consider student learning in that course. Faculty members are asked to re-examine the course as it was initially conceived and proposed for CAP to determine if the course is still being delivered that way and whether or not students are learning what faculty members strive for them to learn in the course. Accordingly, the Course Learning Objectives (CLOs) form the foundation of this review.

Simply put, the 4-Year Review process asks: 

  1. Is the course being delivered as proposed for CAP (or how it was described the last time it went through 4-Year Review)?
  2. Are students achieving the learning objectives for the course?
  3. How is the level of achievement assessed and evaluated? And how is that information being utilized?
  4. What are the plans for future offerings of the course?

By providing an opportunity to reflect, this process enables faculty, departments, and the broader campus community to focus on learning and communicate with others about the learning that is occurring as part of the Common Academic Program. 

Words such as "review" can provoke fear and reluctance, so it is important to point out what the CAP 4-Year Review is not. This process is not about:

  • Collecting evidence that will be conveyed by the CAP Office to unit- or institution-level tenure and promotion committees or other review committees;
  • Telling faculty members how to teach or what to teach; or
  • Using data to thwart course offerings.


The CAP Committee (CAPC) developed recommendations that a course assessment plan should identify the following elements:

  • System for administering assessment [e.g., rubric -- which relates directly to the Course Learning Objectives (CLOs); system should include clearly defined criteria to determine whether or not each CLO is being achieved and how those criteria will be evaluated using student work]
  • Specifics about which assignment(s) are used to assess which CLOs and how those assignments align with the criteria
  • Who will conduct the assessment (e.g., instructor of record, outside instructors, etc.)?
  • Who will be assessed (e.g., every student or random sample) and why are those determinations appropriate?
  • Frequency of assessment (if appropriate depending on how often the course is offered)
  • Thresholds for achievement (e.g., 70% proficiency)
  • Process or method for interpreting and using results of assessment to inform future course offerings
  • Steps taken to act upon evidence and/or data to enhance student learning in the course (i.e., closing the loop)

If the course is part of program assessment (perhaps for an academic unit and/or external accreditation), please look for ways to align the 4-Year Review with that process.

Beginning in Fall 2021, the CAPC is requiring that all course proposals include a full assessment plan in Course Inventory Management (CIM) based on these recommended elements. This applies to all courses seeking new CAP approval, as well as existing CAP courses proposing changes to components and/or Institutional Learning Goals prior to the initial 4-Year Review. Subsequently, these courses must have already implemented the assessment plan prior to the initial 4-Year Review and have evidence of student learning to be reapproved. A minor change (e.g., changing the course number or a pre-req) to an existing CAP course prior to the initial 4-Year Review will not require an assessment plan.

If faculty determine that any of these recommended elements are not applicable to assessing student learning in the course, a brief rationale should be provided in the assessment plan.

Course Assessment Plan: Recommended Elements

4-Year Review Timeline: 2021-22 Academic Year

The following timeline applies to departments with courses that will go through the 4-Year Review process during the 2021-22 academic year. Departments will be notified with significant lead time about the timeline applicable to courses that will go through the process in subsequent academic years.

  • Departments and faculty members are reminded of the upcoming 4-Year Review cycle

  • Please do not make any changes to the course's record in Course Inventory Management (CIM) during the 4-Year Review process. Any changes in CIM should be made after the CAP Committee (CAPC) has reviewed the 4-Year Review report and communicated a decision regarding renewal of CAP course designation.
  • The CAP Office will offer opportunities to learn about the review process  and assessment
  • Faculty members who teach the course have conversations among themselves about Course Learning Objectives (CLOs), Institutional Learning Goals (ILGs), and CAP components
  • Faculty members compile information about the course and student learning
  • Draft 4-Year Review report reviewed and submitted to department for input and dialogue according to department's own due dates
  • If a department requests a two-year deferral for a course up for review because it has been offered less than once a year since it was approved for CAP, the CAP Office should be notified no later than October 15, 2021
  • If a department and faculty members choose to remove a course from the list of approved CAP courses and not participate in the 4-Year Review process, the CAP Office should be notified no later than October 15, 2021

  • Faculty members make revisions to CAP 4-Year Review report
  • Department Chair submits CAP 4-Year Review report to the CAP Committee (CAPC) as an attachment via Course Inventory Management (CIM) by January 21, 2022
  • CAPC reviews submitted reports:
       - CAPC refers reports to subcommittee of approximately three members for initial review and recommendation to the entire CAPC (completed by March 7, 2022)
       - CAPC reviews subcommittees' recommendations and determines if more information and/or consultation with faculty and departments is needed. If needed, requests will be made by March 25, 2022
       - During April, meetings with faculty members and/or department chairs will take place, if needed
Decisions by CAPC regarding renewal of CAP course designation and modifications will be provided by May 13, 2022 via CIM

  • Department and unit conversations determine necessary next steps depending on CAP designation status
  • Any final revisions or modifications should be submitted via CIM by September 2, 2022


Michelle C. Pautz, Ph.D. Assistant Provost for the Common Academic Program

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1302

CAP Newsletter

All stakeholders are encouraged to subscribe, stay informed, and get updates from our team on highlights, relevant stories, programs, events, and resources aligning with innovative teaching and CAP courses.