Assignment Criteria

Topic or Topic Range

Topic should be clear
Should be in an area of debate in order to generate material for writing
Should allow student to focus in on something


Student should have some sense of the investment of the audience in this topic
How much does the audience know about this topic

Purpose of the assignment

Purpose needs to be clear—what kind of writing (persuasion, directions, explanation)     
Connection to course goals
Practice of academic skills (see process steps) 
Connection to real life
            Writing about service learning
            Writing about real problems in real world
            Ability to teach from some expertise
Example: you are an advice columnist writing to a young couple who have argues over a topic. Decide who is right but help them feel OK.

Steps of the assignment (staged assignments)

Explain what steps the student should go through in assignment completion
How to narrow topic and find sources
How to evaluate sources
How to summarize, refer to sources
Style sheets
Skills of argumentation
Writing process as a process


Best given as word count so that students have no motivation to mess with the margins and
the font


Specify format (margins, spacing, header with student name, page numbers, font type and

Sources to be used

Style sheet to be used if references are made

Grading Criteria

Students can create their own grading rubric or you can choose one

Positive and Negative Examples

Provide short examples and more than one good one
Good example should be varied—don’t squelch student creativity and originality


What things are open for the student to choose and what things are not

Level and Genre

Level of vocabulary and analysis
Genre of writing


User-test the assignment by doing it yourself