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Contact Hours

Registered Programs are encouraged to contact CFP Board with any questions about the new Financial Plan Development Course requirements.  CFP Board can share tips and provide references to materials related to all stages of the development and implementation of the course. Should you have any questions, please contact: Dr. Charles Chaffin, Registered Program Manager, at, or 202-379-2218.

Contact Hours for Classroom-Based Instruction

Hours of instruction or instructional activity the learner receives from the program. Instructional activity includes any program-sponsored activity
designed to promote student learning in the program curriculum such as classroom instruction, assessment, tutoring, or participation in a learning lab.

Note: Time spent on assessment can be counted only if the assessment is designed to inform placement decisions, assess progress, or inform instruction. (Time outside of class working on the financial plan for the new capstone course is not eligible to be counted towards contact hours for the course.)

Examples of Contact Hours in Classroom-Based Instruction

  • Presentation of new material via classroom/online instruction, recitation, tutorial, supervised activity, supervised experiential instructional activity, or supervised independent study
  • Lab setting where the learner interacts with course content to meet a pre-determined achievement objective with instructor guidance, input, guided reflection/ assessment, e.g. – practicum, case study, group analysis, etc.
  • Formal assessment – written or oral exam that measures learner achievement. Formal assessments consist of data that supports the conclusions made from the exam, such as percentiles, stanines, standard scores.  
  • Informal assessment- content and performance driven

Contact Hours for Distance Learning

Contact hours for distance learners can be a combination of actual contact and contact through telephone, video, teleconference, or online communication, where student and program staff can interact and through which learner identity is verifiable.   

Examples of Contact Hours for Distance Learning

  • Online discussion- formal/informal assessment
  • Assessment
  • Interaction with lecture, recitation, and content

Creating an Assessment Rubric

CFP Board is requiring the use of a rubric to assess student achievement in the Financial Plan Development Course. It is the decision of each Registered Program to decide the type of rubric they want to utilize in this course, as well as how each category should be weighted. Below are some steps that outline how to go about developing an assessment rubric.

Steps toward Creating an Effective Assessment Rubric for the Financial Plan Development Course

Step 1: Determine the learning objectives that you are evaluating in this assessment and place them into categories.
Step 2: Prioritize the most and least important learning objectives relative to a particular assessment.
Step 3: Decide an overall point value for this assignment.
Step 4: Assign a weight to each category. CFP Board recommends a weighted rubric, since some categories may be more important than others and should be reflected as such in the assessment.
Step 5: Do the math to assign a point value for each item.
Step 6: Assign grading criteria for each category and qualitative information for the criteria.


  1. Determine what value a minimum competency might be for each category. For example, if you are grading out of five for each category, a 3 out of 5 might be minimum competency or passing.
  2. Is the amount of time you have spent in this unit of study represented in this rubric?
    For example, if you have spent a large amount of time in-class on Learning Objective Two (Communication), it may need to represent more than 10% of the overall assessment.
  3. Share the rubric with your students BEFORE the assessment so they may see not only how they will be assessed, but also the items that you believe are most important relative to the development and implementation of the financial plan. You may want to provide a copy of the assessment rubric for the final portion of the financial plan in the syllabus so the student can see the value placed on each component of the course.
  4. Be careful not to place too many items on the rubrics to assess at once, as it might be unwieldy.
  5. Record the assessment to ensure that you do not miss any component of the
    student’s presentation.


  • Use even numbers of possible variables, as opposed to odd (middle numbers tend to become the “catch-all” with scoring). The example below uses an even number of four possible variables.
4 3 2 1






  • Always start high to low, so the student can evaluate the exemplar language or possible number first

Rubric Example:

Below is an example of a weighted rubric. Only one learning objective has been completed.

Learning Objective 4-Exemplary 3-Excellent 2-Acceptable 1-Poor

Presentation (25%)

Well presented and articulated.

(4 x .25=1.00 possible points)

Clear communication. The financial plan was articulated effectively in most cases.

(3 x .25= .75 possible points)

A moderately effective presentation. Some information was not clear and the student appeared unprofessional at times.

(2 x .25= .50 possible point)

Not presented in a clear or professional manner. Student appeared disinterested in engaging the client/audience

(1 x .25= .25 possible points)

Learning Objective 2 (30%)





Learning Objective 3 (25%)





Learning Objective 4 (20%)






  • The comment section provides the learner the opportunity to receive short, written feedback from the instructor. This section might be an appropriate place to write specific steps the learner can take to improve his or her achievement or to share general comments related to the learner’s progress in the course.

The new Center is creating an academic home for the financial planning profession.

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Council On Education
CFP Board’s Council on Education advises CFP Board on the development and clarification of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process.