The grading of contracts
If classwork and homework are being graded, the use of learning contracts can organize those grades more efficiently. A minicontract, with a choice between several activities, can be graded in exactly the same way that any comparable work would have been graded if there were no differentiation. Multiple contract activities in a minicontract can be entered into the grade book as a single entry and weighted based on the number of items completed. This reduces the bookkeeping associated with classwork and homework.
Contracts are a record of the learning process
Whatever form of learning contracts or grading scheme you are using, contracts can help document the learning process and make grading more accurate. By having clear and explicit guidelines for assessing each contract item and the contract as a whole, evaluating the learning process is more fair and transparent.
Contracts and student self-evaluation
If student self-evaluation is a part of contracts, it deconstructs students’ dependence on rewards from teachers and helps them internalize their motivation. It also requires them to internalize the notion of excellence and to view their own work through that lens. In addition, it frees up teachers to give more subtle and meaningful feedback through different means, such as one-on-one conversations.
Contracts and grade conferences
Regardless of their scope, contracts can become a written record of student work that can be viewed and discussed in grade conferences at the end of each marking period. Laying out contracts on a table and looking at the accumulated evidence of the learning process can lead to powerful and meaningful conversations.