Behavioral Contracts, Academic Agreements

UDL 6.4

A Contract is an agreement that a student makes with their teacher and/or parents to follow through with an action plan to change their learning, emotional, or social behavior. A Contract makes students aware of expectations and holds them accountable for their actions, which increases student success. These agreements are often part of a monitoring system where the student’s behavior or academic progress are regularly and consistently assessed. A Contract typically contains a goal for the student, a detailed plan for achieving the goal (e.g., steps to follow, resources or supports to use, reinforcement plan, etc.), a description of how progress will be measured, and space for student and teacher signatures. Contracts may be implemented in conjunction with self-monitoring checklists, behavioral charts, or reinforcement schedules.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Behavior Management Tool

Academic Student Contract

Student contract for setting and tracking academic goals. Template can be customized to address individual student needs.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages

Behavior Management Tool

Behavior Student Contract

Student contracts for setting and tracking behavior goals. Templates can be customized to address individual student needs.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Positive and Detailed Language
Use positive and constructive language when creating Contracts. Write goals and plans that focus on increasing positive behaviors instead of decreasing negative behaviors (e.g., “I will raise my hand when I have something to say in class.” instead of “I will not call out during class.”). A positively written contract outlines the steps the student needs to take successfully accomplish stated academic, social, and emotional learning goals.
Student Interests
Incorporate student interests and motivations into contracts to increase student buy-in and likelihood of success. When creating a contract, include student interests in the steps for achieving the goal (e.g., doing homework with friends or completing one assignment per day in the classroom library). The contract can also outline rewards for students to earn upon achieving their goals (e.g., having lunch off-campus with a preferred staff member when the goal is met).
Progress Monitoring
Include a schedule and method for monitoring a student’s progress toward the Contract goal. Self-evaluation helps to maintain a student’s investment in the plan and provides opportunities for celebration of success or revision of the plan if there is no improvement. A self-monitoring tool or an academic progress chart could also be used to track student progress. Try using Intervention Central’s [[|Self-Check Behavior Checklist Maker]].
Student-Teacher Conferences
Schedule one-on-one meetings (e.g., Student-Teacher Conference, Check In/Check Out) with target students to create and revise Contracts. During these times, the student can help brainstorm action steps and rewards for meeting goals. Model specific behaviors and provide opportunities for the student to practice skills during individual meetings.
Staff Collaboration
Share Contracts and the student’s goals with support staff and parents if appropriate. If the student is expected to display the target behaviors in multiple settings (e.g., in different classes, during recess, etc.) collaborate with supervising adults to establish common expectations, reinforcement/rewards, and monitoring procedures.


Behavior Contracts
A student has been invited to participate in the Check In/Check Out intervention program at the school. As part of the program, the student meets with his mentor, the teacher, and parents to discuss what the program entails. During the meeting, they develop a Contract to set behavioral goals and expectations as well as outline the program and student expectations (e.g., meeting with mentor everyday, keeping track of monitoring form, working on improving behaviors, and following classroom rules). By signing the contract, the student agrees to work toward the behavioral goals through full participation in the program.
Academic Contracts
A teacher creates Reading Contracts with each of her students several times per year. During Student-Teacher Conferences with each student the teacher discusses their current reading level and strengths and outlines some possible reading goals. The student chooses one or two goals to work on during reading instruction and independent reading time and has a reading folder in which to track their progress. Throughout the quarter and at the end of each marking period, the teacher meets periodically with the student to review their progress and steps they can take to reach subsequent reading goals.
Group Contracts
A high school teacher uses a Contract as part of a plan to reduce student tardiness. Together, the teacher and class create a goal that 100% of the class will be on time at least four days each week. Students brainstorm strategies to help them meet the goal (e.g., creating partners to help each other get to class on-time, keeping materials in locker organized) and decide on a reward for meeting their goal (e.g., 20 minutes of game time on Friday). The teacher then prints out the Contract, has each student sign it, and posts it near the door.

Related Strategies