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Learning Contracts

Learning Contracts

Overview

Because many inquiry-based classes allow students to choose their own subjects of inquiry, a flexible system of assessing their work is required.

The teaching tip

Learning contracts have become a common method for allowing this amount of autonomy for the learner, while at the same time ensuring that the topics chosen and the method of investigating them are appropriate.

Learning contracts should include:

  • A description of the student's learning objectives
  • What activities the student will complete in pursuit of those objectives
  • A timeline for the completion of those activities
  • How those activities will be assessed (e.g., a teacher/student negotiated rubric)
  • The role of the instructor during this process

Blank learning contract forms should be included in the syllabus, and it can be useful to make a few good models available to students since they may have never experienced contract learning before.

Examples

See the links below for examples of blank and model learning contracts.

The University of Maryland
http://www.journalism.umd.edu/Contract.pdf

Evergreen State College
http://www.evergreen.edu/individualstudy/docs/ILC%20Example%20One