To show how a learning contract might be used, here is a simple example. In a physics class, the students have been introduced to the concept of conservation of energy. They then take the following ungraded check-up to see whether they have mastered the concept.
Students are given the answers immediately and have a chance to talk to their neighbors about any questions they got wrong. Then they are given the following contract. It requires them to choose any two items from the “Practice” category if they got the check-up wrong, or from the “Above and Beyond” category if they got it right. The “Practice” category includes an exercise that addresses conceptual misunderstandings, a problem set that allows students to practice the problem-solving aspect of the material, and an opportunity to seek help with the teacher outside of class. The Above and Beyond category includes two enriched problem sets that are beyond the scope of material that will be tested (hence the name “Above and Beyond”). It also includes the opportunity to “share the wealth” with students who didn’t do as well on the check-up.
Once students have chosen what work they will do, they are given an open work session of one period. When students have completed the work, they assess themselves on each item they did and turn this in with their work. Self-evaluation is described in detail in the chapter“Grades Reconsidered”.