Designing Effective Writing Assignments
Why Assign Writing?
- Writing promotes learning. Just as bad writing is often an indication of an incomplete grasp of complex material, good writing is a reflection of a clear, concise and in-depth understanding of a literature, idea or argument
- Students learn what constitutes good writing in your discipline
Formal vs. Informal Writing Assignments
There are dozens of kinds of writing you can assign, from one-minute quick writes in class to formal research papers and informal writing assignments.
Sequence the Assignment
Sequencing the assignment ensures that students take time to develop their ideas and refine their product. It also guards against plagiarism.
- Require draft submissions
- Require peer reviews in class or as a homework assignment
- Encourage Writing Center consultations
- For longer assignments, require a series of submissions culminating in a final draft (thesis proposal, hypothesis, annotated bibliography, rough draft, reviewed draft, sections of the paper)
Define Your Evaluation Criteria
Determine what relative weight will you give to:
- original thinking
- synthesis of concepts
- integration of sources
- structure and integrity of argument
- quality of evidence
- grammar and mechanics
If you are using a grading rubric, share it with the students.