Criteria for Reviewing Contracts and Contract Evaluations

July 13, 1979

To: Associate Deans

From: John Jacobson, VPAA

Subject: Criteria for Reviewing Contracts and Contract Evaluations

At our meeting of June 26, 1979, we agreed to use the attached criteria for reviewing contracts and contract evaluations. I think it is important to discuss these criteria with faculty as we introduce the new forms so that our expectations for their use will be clear from the beginning.

There are several points about the new contract and evaluation forms that need to be emphasized. Except for the combinations of Sections I and II, the learning contract remains essentially unchanged--i.e., there is no intention to reduce the length or specificity of the learning contract. According to the criteria, we are in fact asking for more specificity than sometimes appears at present--e.g., explicit statements of credit and level for each component. In order to fulfill its two fold purpose as both a detailed study plan for the student and a record of student academic activity for both internal use and external reviews, the learning contract must be both comprehensive and specific.

The contract evaluation, on the other hand, has been changed substantially. In order to reduce the size of student transcripts and to eliminate unnecessary repetition, the "digest" portion of the evaluation should be omitted. The evaluation should focus clearly on the achievement of learning--its scope, level and quality. We are aiming for both brevity and clarity so that an outside reader can easily understand what the student has accomplished.

If possible, it would be useful for us to share the faculty's response to both the new forms and the criteria at our July 24 meeting in order to plan future faculty development activities to strengthen the quality of our academic documents.

Attachments

  1. CRITERIA FOR REVIEWING CONTRACTS
    1. Topics of Study
      1. Are the topics of study clearly stated?
      2. If the contract has more than one component, is the amount of credit specified for each?
      3. Is the level (introductory or advanced) indicated for each component?
    2. Learning Activities
      1. Are the learning resources which the student will utilize clearly indicated? (e.g., tutors, cross-registered courses, field studies, bibliographies, community resources, independent study modules, studios.)
      2. Is a time frame indicated where appropriate? (e.g., for workshops, field experiences, seminars.)
      3. Are those learning activities which result in a measurable or observable outcome and which may become a basis for evaluation stated explicitly? (e.g., research papers, journals, case studies, art projects.)
      4. Are the learning activities appropriate for each component, given the objectives of the contract and the amount of credit?
    3. Methods and Criteria for Evaluation
      1. Are the methods of evaluation clearly stated--i.e., do they clearly indicate by what means the student will be evaluated (rather than merely stating who will do the evaluation)?
      2. Are the criteria for evaluation clearly stated--i.e., against what standards or objectives will the student's learning be evaluated?
        1. If the criteria are quantitative--e.g., grades at other institutions, test scores--, are those criteria clearly stated? (e.g., a grade of "C" or better, a score of ____or better on an evaluation.)
        2. If the criteria are competency-based, are the competencies clearly stated?
      3. Are the methods and criteria for evaluation distinct?
      4.  Are the methods and criteria for evaluation appropriate for the level designated for each component and for the credit indicated?
  2. CRITERIA FOR REVIEWING CONTRACT EVALUATIONS
    1. Topics of Study
      1. Are the topics of study clearly stated?
      2. If the contract has more than one component, is the amount of credit specified for each?
      3. Is the level (introductory or advanced) indicated for each component?
    2. Evaluation
      1. Does the evaluation briefly describe what was learned and the evidence of learning upon which this judgment was made?
      2. Does the evaluation give clear evidence of mastery of subject matter?
      3. Does the evaluation address the quality of the student's learning in a clear, objective fashion?
      4. Does the evaluation avoid listing the learning activities and describing the history of their completion and, instead, focus on the learning outcomes of the student?
      5. Is the evaluation objective and professional? Does it avoid inappropriate personal remarks, excessive detail, and irrelevant discourse? Does the evaluation focus on the scope, level and quality of the learning?
      6. Is the credit award based upon the student's having successfully fulfilled the criteria stated in the learning contract?
      7. Is the credit award consistent with the evidence of learning acquired?
      8. Is the evaluation stated so that an outside reader can understand easily what the student accomplished?