Research has shown that students are excellent judges of the learning that takes place in a classroom. This is particularly true if the deliverables for a course are clearly stated. This reform would require colleges and universities to develop contracts between deans, department heads, and teachers so that the promises of each degree program are clearly stated to each and every student.
A secondary benefit of this reform is that it provides an effective, institution-based accountability tool rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all test or other system imposed by federal or state governments.
Signed contracts will be established between the university, dean, department head, teachers and each student.
1. Universities will provide each applicant with a “learning contract” that discloses, at a minimum:
a. the graduation rate, placement rate and average starting salaries for a student with the equivalent entering admissions test scores (SAT) and major
b. the average class size
c. teaching evaluations for the faculty who will be teaching their classes
d. grade distributions
e. the skills, tools and lessons that the curriculum is designed to transmit
f. how educational value added will be measured.
All enrolling students will need to sign and return the learning contract to the school before admittance.
2. Teachers will provide for each student enrolling in a course a classroom learning contract that discloses, at a minimum:
a. the skills, tools and lessons that the course is designed to transmit
b. the grading policy for the course
c. the method that students will use to evaluate the course and teacher on whether the learning promise was met.
To remain enrolled in a course, students must sign a copy of the contract and then have it returned to them signed by their teacher.