• Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Office of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation
  • University Policies
  • Columbia Online
  • Academic Calendar
  • Resources and Technology
  • Instructional Technologies
  • Teaching in All Modalities

Designing Assignments for Learning

The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning outside of the traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. This resource distills the elements of assignment design that are important to carry forward as we continue to seek better ways of assessing learning and build on our innovative assignment designs.

On this page:

Rethinking traditional tests, quizzes, and exams.

  • Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
  • Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

Reflect On Your Assignment Design

Connect with the ctl.

  • Resources and References

what is assignment for learning

Cite this resource: Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (2021). Designing Assignments for Learning. Columbia University. Retrieved [today’s date] from https://ctl.columbia.edu/resources-and-technology/teaching-with-technology/teaching-online/designing-assignments/

Traditional assessments tend to reveal whether students can recognize, recall, or replicate what was learned out of context, and tend to focus on students providing correct responses (Wiggins, 1990). In contrast, authentic assignments, which are course assessments, engage students in higher order thinking, as they grapple with real or simulated challenges that help them prepare for their professional lives, and draw on the course knowledge learned and the skills acquired to create justifiable answers, performances or products (Wiggins, 1990). An authentic assessment provides opportunities for students to practice, consult resources, learn from feedback, and refine their performances and products accordingly (Wiggins 1990, 1998, 2014). 

Authentic assignments ask students to “do” the subject with an audience in mind and apply their learning in a new situation. Examples of authentic assignments include asking students to: 

  • Write for a real audience (e.g., a memo, a policy brief, letter to the editor, a grant proposal, reports, building a website) and/or publication;
  • Solve problem sets that have real world application; 
  • Design projects that address a real world problem; 
  • Engage in a community-partnered research project;
  • Create an exhibit, performance, or conference presentation ;
  • Compile and reflect on their work through a portfolio/e-portfolio.

Noteworthy elements of authentic designs are that instructors scaffold the assignment, and play an active role in preparing students for the tasks assigned, while students are intentionally asked to reflect on the process and product of their work thus building their metacognitive skills (Herrington and Oliver, 2000; Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2013; Frey, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012). 

It’s worth noting here that authentic assessments can initially be time consuming to design, implement, and grade. They are critiqued for being challenging to use across course contexts and for grading reliability issues (Maclellan, 2004). Despite these challenges, authentic assessments are recognized as beneficial to student learning (Svinicki, 2004) as they are learner-centered (Weimer, 2013), promote academic integrity (McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, 2021; Sotiriadou et al., 2019; Schroeder, 2021) and motivate students to learn (Ambrose et al., 2010). The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning is always available to consult with faculty who are considering authentic assessment designs and to discuss challenges and affordances.   

Examples from the Columbia University Classroom 

Columbia instructors have experimented with alternative ways of assessing student learning from oral exams to technology-enhanced assignments. Below are a few examples of authentic assignments in various teaching contexts across Columbia University. 

  • E-portfolios: Statia Cook shares her experiences with an ePorfolio assignment in her co-taught Frontiers of Science course (a submission to the Voices of Hybrid and Online Teaching and Learning initiative); CUIMC use of ePortfolios ;
  • Case studies: Columbia instructors have engaged their students in authentic ways through case studies drawing on the Case Consortium at Columbia University. Read and watch a faculty spotlight to learn how Professor Mary Ann Price uses the case method to place pre-med students in real-life scenarios;
  • Simulations: students at CUIMC engage in simulations to develop their professional skills in The Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center in the Columbia School of Nursing; 
  • Experiential learning: instructors have drawn on New York City as a learning laboratory such as Barnard’s NYC as Lab webpage which highlights courses that engage students in NYC;
  • Design projects that address real world problems: Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy on the Engineering design projects completed using lab kits during remote learning. Watch Dr. Yesilevskiy talk about his teaching and read the Columbia News article . 
  • Writing assignments: Lia Marshall and her teaching associate Aparna Balasundaram reflect on their “non-disposable or renewable assignments” to prepare social work students for their professional lives as they write for a real audience; and Hannah Weaver spoke about a sandbox assignment used in her Core Literature Humanities course at the 2021 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium . Watch Dr. Weaver share her experiences.  

​Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

While designing an effective authentic assignment may seem like a daunting task, the following tips can be used as a starting point. See the Resources section for frameworks and tools that may be useful in this effort.  

Align the assignment with your course learning objectives 

Identify the kind of thinking that is important in your course, the knowledge students will apply, and the skills they will practice using through the assignment. What kind of thinking will students be asked to do for the assignment? What will students learn by completing this assignment? How will the assignment help students achieve the desired course learning outcomes? For more information on course learning objectives, see the CTL’s Course Design Essentials self-paced course and watch the video on Articulating Learning Objectives .  

Identify an authentic meaning-making task

For meaning-making to occur, students need to understand the relevance of the assignment to the course and beyond (Ambrose et al., 2010). To Bean (2011) a “meaning-making” or “meaning-constructing” task has two dimensions: 1) it presents students with an authentic disciplinary problem or asks students to formulate their own problems, both of which engage them in active critical thinking, and 2) the problem is placed in “a context that gives students a role or purpose, a targeted audience, and a genre.” (Bean, 2011: 97-98). 

An authentic task gives students a realistic challenge to grapple with, a role to take on that allows them to “rehearse for the complex ambiguities” of life, provides resources and supports to draw on, and requires students to justify their work and the process they used to inform their solution (Wiggins, 1990). Note that if students find an assignment interesting or relevant, they will see value in completing it. 

Consider the kind of activities in the real world that use the knowledge and skills that are the focus of your course. How is this knowledge and these skills applied to answer real-world questions to solve real-world problems? (Herrington et al., 2010: 22). What do professionals or academics in your discipline do on a regular basis? What does it mean to think like a biologist, statistician, historian, social scientist? How might your assignment ask students to draw on current events, issues, or problems that relate to the course and are of interest to them? How might your assignment tap into student motivation and engage them in the kinds of thinking they can apply to better understand the world around them? (Ambrose et al., 2010). 

Determine the evaluation criteria and create a rubric

To ensure equitable and consistent grading of assignments across students, make transparent the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. The criteria should focus on the knowledge and skills that are central to the assignment. Build on the criteria identified, create a rubric that makes explicit the expectations of deliverables and share this rubric with your students so they can use it as they work on the assignment. For more information on rubrics, see the CTL’s resource Incorporating Rubrics into Your Grading and Feedback Practices , and explore the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). 

Build in metacognition

Ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the assignment. Help students uncover personal relevance of the assignment, find intrinsic value in their work, and deepen their motivation by asking them to reflect on their process and their assignment deliverable. Sample prompts might include: what did you learn from this assignment? How might you draw on the knowledge and skills you used on this assignment in the future? See Ambrose et al., 2010 for more strategies that support motivation and the CTL’s resource on Metacognition ). 

Provide students with opportunities to practice

Design your assignment to be a learning experience and prepare students for success on the assignment. If students can reasonably expect to be successful on an assignment when they put in the required effort ,with the support and guidance of the instructor, they are more likely to engage in the behaviors necessary for learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Ensure student success by actively teaching the knowledge and skills of the course (e.g., how to problem solve, how to write for a particular audience), modeling the desired thinking, and creating learning activities that build up to a graded assignment. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills they will need for the assignment, whether through low-stakes in-class activities or homework activities that include opportunities to receive and incorporate formative feedback. For more information on providing feedback, see the CTL resource Feedback for Learning . 

Communicate about the assignment 

Share the purpose, task, audience, expectations, and criteria for the assignment. Students may have expectations about assessments and how they will be graded that is informed by their prior experiences completing high-stakes assessments, so be transparent. Tell your students why you are asking them to do this assignment, what skills they will be using, how it aligns with the course learning outcomes, and why it is relevant to their learning and their professional lives (i.e., how practitioners / professionals use the knowledge and skills in your course in real world contexts and for what purposes). Finally, verify that students understand what they need to do to complete the assignment. This can be done by asking students to respond to poll questions about different parts of the assignment, a “scavenger hunt” of the assignment instructions–giving students questions to answer about the assignment and having them work in small groups to answer the questions, or by having students share back what they think is expected of them.

Plan to iterate and to keep the focus on learning 

Draw on multiple sources of data to help make decisions about what changes are needed to the assignment, the assignment instructions, and/or rubric to ensure that it contributes to student learning. Explore assignment performance data. As Deandra Little reminds us: “a really good assignment, which is a really good assessment, also teaches you something or tells the instructor something. As much as it tells you what students are learning, it’s also telling you what they aren’t learning.” ( Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 337 ). Assignment bottlenecks–where students get stuck or struggle–can be good indicators that students need further support or opportunities to practice prior to completing an assignment. This awareness can inform teaching decisions. 

Triangulate the performance data by collecting student feedback, and noting your own reflections about what worked well and what did not. Revise the assignment instructions, rubric, and teaching practices accordingly. Consider how you might better align your assignment with your course objectives and/or provide more opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills that they will rely on for the assignment. Additionally, keep in mind societal, disciplinary, and technological changes as you tweak your assignments for future use. 

Now is a great time to reflect on your practices and experiences with assignment design and think critically about your approach. Take a closer look at an existing assignment. Questions to consider include: What is this assignment meant to do? What purpose does it serve? Why do you ask students to do this assignment? How are they prepared to complete the assignment? Does the assignment assess the kind of learning that you really want? What would help students learn from this assignment? 

Using the tips in the previous section: How can the assignment be tweaked to be more authentic and meaningful to students? 

As you plan forward for post-pandemic teaching and reflect on your practices and reimagine your course design, you may find the following CTL resources helpful: Reflecting On Your Experiences with Remote Teaching , Transition to In-Person Teaching , and Course Design Support .

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is here to help!

For assistance with assignment design, rubric design, or any other teaching and learning need, please request a consultation by emailing [email protected]

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignments. The TILT Examples and Resources page ( https://tilthighered.com/tiltexamplesandresources ) includes example assignments from across disciplines, as well as a transparent assignment template and a checklist for designing transparent assignments . Each emphasizes the importance of articulating to students the purpose of the assignment or activity, the what and how of the task, and specifying the criteria that will be used to assess students. 

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) offers VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Diagnostic) tools ( https://www.aacu.org/value-add-tools ) to help with the creation of clear and effective assignments that align with the desired learning outcomes and associated VALUE rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). VALUE ADD encourages instructors to explicitly state assignment information such as the purpose of the assignment, what skills students will be using, how it aligns with course learning outcomes, the assignment type, the audience and context for the assignment, clear evaluation criteria, desired formatting, and expectations for completion whether individual or in a group.

Villarroel et al. (2017) propose a blueprint for building authentic assessments which includes four steps: 1) consider the workplace context, 2) design the authentic assessment; 3) learn and apply standards for judgement; and 4) give feedback. 

References 

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., & DiPietro, M. (2010). Chapter 3: What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching . Jossey-Bass. 

Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., and Brown, C. (2013). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(2), 205-222, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2013.819566 .  

Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Frey, B. B, Schmitt, V. L., and Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. 17(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7275/sxbs-0829  

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., and Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning . Routledge. 

Herrington, J. and Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48. 

Litchfield, B. C. and Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 142 (Summer 2015), 65-80. 

Maclellan, E. (2004). How convincing is alternative assessment for use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 29(3), June 2004. DOI: 10.1080/0260293042000188267

McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, J. (2021). Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t Need that Lockdown Browser! Faculty Focus. June 2, 2021. 

Mueller, J. (2005). The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1(1). July 2005. Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox is available online. 

Schroeder, R. (2021). Vaccinate Against Cheating With Authentic Assessment . Inside Higher Ed. (February 26, 2021).  

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., and Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skills development and employability. Studies in Higher Education. 45(111), 2132-2148. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582015    

Stachowiak, B. (Host). (November 25, 2020). Authentic Assignments with Deandra Little. (Episode 337). In Teaching in Higher Ed . https://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/authentic-assignments/  

Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Authentic Assessment: Testing in Reality. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 100 (Winter 2004): 23-29. 

Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S, Bruna, D., Bruna, C., and Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(5), 840-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2017.1412396    

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice . Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wiggins, G. (2014). Authenticity in assessment, (re-)defined and explained. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment-re-defined-and-explained/

Wiggins, G. (1998). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test. Educational Leadership . April 1989. 41-47. 

Wiggins, Grant (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation , 2(2). 

Wondering how AI tools might play a role in your course assignments?

See the CTL’s resource “Considerations for AI Tools in the Classroom.”

This website uses cookies to identify users, improve the user experience and requires cookies to work. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's use of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice .

Ohio State nav bar

The Ohio State University

  • BuckeyeLink
  • Find People
  • Search Ohio State

Designing Assessments of Student Learning

Image Hollie Nyseth Brehm, ​​​​​Associate Professor, Department of Sociology  Professor Hollie Nyseth Brehm was a graduate student the first time she taught a class, “I didn’t have any training on how to teach, so I assigned a final paper and gave them instructions: ‘Turn it in at the end of course.’ That was sort of it.” Brehm didn’t have a rubric or a process to check in with students along the way. Needless to say, the assignment didn’t lead to any major breakthroughs for her students. But it was a learning experience for Brehm. As she grew her teaching skills, she began to carefully craft assignments to align to course goals, make tasks realistic and meaningful, and break down large assignments into manageable steps. "Now I always have rubrics. … I always scaffold the assignment such that they’ll start by giving me their paper topic and a couple of sources and then turn in a smaller portion of it, and we write it in pieces. And that leads to a much better learning experience for them—and also for me, frankly, when I turn to grade it .”

Reflect  

Have you ever planned a big assignment that didn’t turn out as you’d hoped? What did you learn, and how would you design that assignment differently now? 

What are students learning in your class? Are they meeting your learning outcomes? You simply cannot answer these questions without assessment of some kind.

As educators, we measure student learning through many means, including assignments, quizzes, and tests. These assessments can be formal or informal, graded or ungraded. But assessment is not simply about awarding points and assigning grades. Learning is a process, not a product, and that process takes place during activities such as recall and practice. Assessing skills in varied ways helps you adjust your teaching throughout your course to support student learning

Instructor speaking to student on their laptop

Research tells us that our methods of assessment don’t only measure how much students have learned. They also play an important role in the learning process. A phenomenon known as the “testing effect” suggests students learn more from repeated testing than from repeated exposure to the material they are trying to learn (Karpicke & Roediger, 2008). While exposure to material, such as during lecture or study, helps students store new information, it’s crucial that students actively practice retrieving that information and putting it to use. Frequent assessment throughout a course provides students with the practice opportunities that are essential to learning.

In addition we can’t assume students can transfer what they have practiced in one context to a different context. Successful transfer of learning requires understanding of deep, structural features and patterns that novices to a subject are still developing (Barnett & Ceci, 2002; Bransford & Schwartz, 1999). If we want students to be able to apply their learning in a wide variety of contexts, they must practice what they’re learning in a wide variety of contexts .

Providing a variety of assessment types gives students multiple opportunities to practice and demonstrate learning. One way to categorize the range of assessment options is as formative or summative.

Formative and Summative Assessment

Opportunities not simply to practice, but to receive feedback on that practice, are crucial to learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Formative assessment facilitates student learning by providing frequent low-stakes practice coupled with immediate and focused feedback. Whether graded or ungraded, formative assessment helps you monitor student progress and guide students to understand which outcomes they’ve mastered, which they need to focus on, and what strategies can support their learning. Formative assessment also informs how you modify your teaching to better meet student needs throughout your course.

Technology Tip

Design quizzes in CarmenCanvas to provide immediate and useful feedback to students based on their answers. Learn more about setting up quizzes in Carmen. 

Summative assessment measures student learning by comparing it to a standard. Usually these types of assessments evaluate a range of skills or overall performance at the end of a unit, module, or course. Unlike formative assessment, they tend to focus more on product than process. These high-stakes experiences are typically graded and should be less frequent (Ambrose et al., 2010).

Using Bloom's Taxonomy

A visual depiction of the Bloom's Taxonomy categories positioned like the layers of a cake. [row 1, at bottom] Remember; Recognizing and recalling facts. [Row 2] Understand: Understanding what the facts mean. [Row 3] Apply: Applying the facts, rules, concepts, and ideas. [Row 4] Analyze: Breaking down information into component parts. [Row 5] Evaluate: Judging the value of information or ideas. [Row 6, at top] Create: Combining parts to make a new whole.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a common framework for thinking about how students can demonstrate their learning on assessments, as well as for articulating course and lesson learning outcomes .

Benjamin Bloom (alongside collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl) published Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in 1956.   The taxonomy provided a system for categorizing educational goals with the intent of aiding educators with assessment. Commonly known as Bloom’s Taxonomy, the framework has been widely used to guide and define instruction in both K-12 and university settings. The original taxonomy from 1956 included a cognitive domain made up of six categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The categories after Knowledge were presented as “skills and abilities,” with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice. 

A revised Bloom's Taxonomy from 2001 updated these six categories to reflect how learners interact with knowledge. In the revised version, students can:  Remember content, Understand ideas, Apply information to new situations, Analyze relationships between ideas, Evaluate information to justify perspectives or decisions, and Create new ideas or original work. In the graphic pictured here, the categories from the revised taxonomy are imagined as the layers of a cake.

Assessing students on a variety of Bloom's categories will give you a better sense of how well they understand your course content. The taxonomy can be a helpful guide to predicting which tasks will be most difficult for students so you can provide extra support where it is needed. It can also be used to craft more transparent assignments and test questions by honing in on the specific skills you want to assess and finding the right language to communicate exactly what you want students to do.  See the Sample Bloom's Verbs in the Examples section below.

Diving deeper into Bloom's Taxonomy

Like most aspects of our lives, activities and assessments in today’s classroom are inextricably linked with technology. In 2008, Andrew Churches extended Bloom’s Taxonomy to address the emerging changes in learning behaviors and opportunities as “technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous.” Consult Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy for ideas on using digital tools to facilitate and assess learning across the six categories of learning.

Did you know that the cognitive domain (commonly referred to simply as Bloom's Taxonomy) was only one of three domains in the original Bloom's Taxonomy (1956)? While it is certainly the most well-known and widely used, the other two domains— psychomotor and affective —may be of interest to some educators. The psychomotor domain relates to physical movement, coordination, and motor skills—it might apply to the performing arts or other courses that involve movement, manipulation of objects, and non-discursive communication like body language. The affective domain pertains to feelings, values, motivations, and attitudes and is used more often in disciplines like medicine, social work, and education, where emotions and values are integral aspects of learning. Explore the full taxonomy in  Three Domains of Learning: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (Hoque, 2017).

In Practice

Consider the following to make your assessments of student learning effective and meaningful.

Align assignments, quizzes, and tests closely to learning outcomes.

It goes without saying that you want students to achieve the learning outcomes for your course. The testing effect implies, then, that your assessments must help them retrieve the knowledge and practice the skills that are relevant to those outcomes.

Plan assessments that measure specific outcomes for your course. Instead of choosing quizzes and tests that are easy to grade or assignment types common to your discipline, carefully consider what assessments will best help students practice important skills. When assignments and feedback are aligned to learning outcomes, and you share this alignment with students, they have a greater appreciation for your course and develop more effective strategies for study and practice targeted at achieving those outcomes (Wang, et al., 2013).

Student working in a lab.

Provide authentic learning experiences.

Consider how far removed from “the real world” traditional assessments like academic essays, standard textbook problems, and multiple-choice exams feel to students. In contrast, assignments that are authentic resemble real-world tasks. They feel relevant and purposeful, which can increase student motivation and engagement (Fink, 2013). Authentic assignments also help you assess whether students will be able to transfer what they learn into realistic contexts beyond your course.

Integrate assessment opportunities that prepare students to be effective and successful once they graduate, whether as professionals, as global citizens, or in their personal lives.

To design authentic assignments:

  • Choose real-world content . If you want students to be able to apply disciplinary methods, frameworks, and terminology to solve real-world problems after your course, you must have them engage with real-world examples, procedures, and tools during your course. Include actual case studies, documents, data sets, and problems from your field in your assessments.
  • Target a real-world audience . Ask students to direct their work to a tangible reader, listener or viewer, rather than to you. For example, they could write a blog for their peers or create a presentation for a future employer.
  • Use real-world formats . Have students develop content in formats used in professional or real-life discourse. For example, instead of a conventional paper, students could write an email to a colleague or a letter to a government official, develop a project proposal or product pitch for a community-based company, post a how-to video on YouTube, or create an infographic to share on social media.

Simulations, role plays, case studies, portfolios, project-based learning, and service learning are all great avenues to bring authentic assessment into your course.

Make sure assignments are achievable.

Your students juggle coursework from several classes, so it’s important to be conscious of workload. Assign tasks they can realistically handle at a given point in the term. If it takes you three hours to do something, it will likely take your students six hours or more. Choose assignments that assess multiple learning outcomes from your course to keep your grading manageable and your feedback useful (Rayner et al., 2016).

Scaffold assignments so students can develop knowledge and skills over time.

For large assignments, use scaffolding to integrate multiple opportunities for feedback, reflection, and improvement. Scaffolding means breaking a complex assignment down into component parts or smaller progressive tasks over time. Practicing these smaller tasks individually before attempting to integrate them into a completed assignment supports student learning by reducing the amount of information they need to process at a given time (Salden et al., 2006).

Scaffolding ensures students will start earlier and spend more time on big assignments. And it provides you more opportunities to give feedback and guidance to support their ultimate success. Additionally, scaffolding can draw students’ attention to important steps in a process that are often overlooked, such as planning and revision, leading them to be more independent and thoughtful about future work.

A familiar example of scaffolding is a research paper. You might ask students to submit a topic or thesis in Week 3 of the semester, an annotated bibliography of sources in Week 6, a detailed outline in Week 9, a first draft on which they can get peer feedback in Week 11, and the final draft in the last week of the semester.

Your course journey is decided in part by how you sequence assignments. Consider where students are in their learning and place assignments at strategic points throughout the term. Scaffold across the course journey by explaining how each assignment builds upon the learning achieved in previous ones (Walvoord & Anderson, 2011). 

Be transparent about assignment instructions and expectations. 

Communicate clearly to students about the purpose of each assignment, the process for completing the task, and the criteria you will use to evaluate it before they begin the work. Studies have shown that transparent assignments support students to meet learning goals and result in especially large increases in success and confidence for underserved students (Winkelmes et al., 2016).

To increase assignment transparency:

Instructor giving directions to a class.

  • Explain how the assignment links to one or more course learning outcomes . Understanding why the assignment matters and how it supports their learning can increase student motivation and investment in the work.
  • Outline steps of the task in the assignment prompt . Clear directions help students structure their time and effort. This is also a chance to call out disciplinary standards with which students are not yet familiar or guide them to focus on steps of the process they often neglect, such as initial research.
  • Provide a rubric with straightforward evaluation criteria . Rubrics make transparent which parts of an assignment you care most about. Sharing clear criteria sets students up for success by giving them the tools to self-evaluate and revise their work before submitting it. Be sure to explain your rubric, and particularly to unpack new or vague terms; for example, language like "argue," “close reading,” "list significant findings," and "document" can mean different things in different disciplines. It is helpful to show exemplars and non-exemplars along with your rubric to highlight differences in unacceptable, acceptable, and exceptional work.

Engage students in reflection or discussion to increase assignment transparency. Have them consider how the assessed outcomes connect to their personal lives or future careers. In-class activities that ask them to grade sample assignments and discuss the criteria they used, compare exemplars and non-exemplars, engage in self- or peer-evaluation, or complete steps of the assignment when you are present to give feedback can all support student success.

Technology Tip   

Enter all  assignments and due dates  in your Carmen course to increase transparency. When assignments are entered in Carmen, they also populate to Calendar, Syllabus, and Grades areas so students can easily track their upcoming work. Carmen also allows you to  develop rubrics  for every assignment in your course. 

Sample Bloom’s Verbs

Building a question bank, using the transparent assignment template, sample assignment: ai-generated lesson plan.

Include frequent low-stakes assignments and assessments throughout your course to provide the opportunities for practice and feedback that are essential to learning. Consider a variety of formative and summative assessment types so students can demonstrate learning in multiple ways. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to determine—and communicate—the specific skills you want to assess.

Remember that effective assessments of student learning are:

  • Aligned to course learning outcomes
  • Authentic, or resembling real-world tasks
  • Achievable and realistic
  • Scaffolded so students can develop knowledge and skills over time
  • Transparent in purpose, tasks, and criteria for evaluation
  • Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty (book)
  • Cheating Lessons (book)
  • Minds online: Teaching effectively with technology (book)
  • Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning (video)
  • TILT Higher Ed Examples and Resource (website)
  • Writing to Learn: Critical Thinking Activities for Any Classroom (guide)

Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., Lovett, M.C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M.K. (2010).  How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching . John Wiley & Sons. 

Barnett, S.M., & Ceci, S.J. (2002). When and where do we apply what we learn? A taxonomy for far transfer.  Psychological Bulletin , 128 (4). 612–637.  doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.128.4.612  

Bransford, J.D, & Schwartz, D.L. (1999). Rethinking transfer: A simple proposal with multiple implications.  Review of Research in Education , 24 . 61–100.  doi.org/10.3102/0091732X024001061  

Fink, L. D. (2013).  Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses . John Wiley & Sons. 

Karpicke, J.D., & Roediger, H.L., III. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning.  Science ,  319 . 966–968.  doi.org/10.1126/science.1152408  

Rayner, K., Schotter, E. R., Masson, M. E., Potter, M. C., & Treiman, R. (2016). So much to read, so little time: How do we read, and can speed reading help?.  Psychological Science in the Public Interest ,  17 (1), 4-34.  doi.org/10.1177/1529100615623267     

Salden, R.J.C.M., Paas, F., van Merriënboer, J.J.G. (2006). A comparison of approaches to learning task selection in the training of complex cognitive skills.  Computers in Human Behavior , 22 (3). 321–333.  doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2004.06.003  

Walvoord, B. E., & Anderson, V. J. (2010).  Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college . John Wiley & Sons. 

Wang, X., Su, Y., Cheung, S., Wong, E., & Kwong, T. (2013). An exploration of Biggs’ constructive alignment in course design and its impact on students’ learning approaches.  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education , 38 (4). 477–491.  doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2004.06.003  

Winkelmes, M., Bernacki, M., Butler, J., Zochowski, M., Golanics, J., & Weavil, K.H. (2016). A teaching intervention that increases underserved college students’ success.  Peer Review , 18 (1/2). 31–36. Retrieved from  https://www.aacu.org/peerreview/2016/winter-spring/Winkelmes

Related Teaching Topics

A positive approach to academic integrity, creating and adapting assignments for online courses, ai teaching strategies: transparent assignment design, designing research or inquiry-based assignments, using backward design to plan your course, universal design for learning: planning with all students in mind, search for resources.

  • Enroll & Pay

Campuses | Buses | Parking

Information Technology | Jobs at KU

Tuition | Bill Payments | Scholarship Search Financial Aid | Loans | Beak 'em Bucks

People Search

Search class sections | Online courses

Libraries | Hours & locations | Ask

Advising | Catalog | Tutors Writing Center | Math help room Finals Schedule | GPA Calculator

  • Social Media

Flexible Teaching

Search form

  • Engagement & connection

Developing engaging assignments

We typically think about assessments as a mechanism for gauging student learning but you can also use them to engage your students! Assessments are a major determinant of how students spend their time on a course. As mentioned here , assessments that take the form of assignments typically produce more robust learning than timed exams. They are also a valuable avenue for generating student excitement and understanding of "what all the learning is for."  Design assignments that leverage the online medium and/or enable your students to connect the material in your class to the world around them, right now. 

Here are some ways you can use assignment design to engage your students

1. try a uthentic assignments, or  social pedagogy  or  open  pedagogy.

Embrace and leverage the online medium through authentic assignments, social pedagogy open pedagogy. Giving students authentic reasons for their work in a course can increase motivation and deepen learning. These types of assignments place students in real or realistic situations where they use knowledge and skills learned in their course to solve messy problems or to help someone who is not the instructor. They foster experiential learning and a sense of ownership in students by engaging them as knowledge creators rather than consumers . Their products live on, or are renewable, rather than being disposed of at the end of the semester. 

Consider using these types of assignments early in the learning sequence instead of only at the conclusion of a course or curriculum, as is more typical. Authentic assignments as a powerful way to help students understand  why  the information and skills they are learning are important, which fosters motivation and provides a foundation for more robust learning that can affect the broader class experience. They can be used in all sorts of disciplines and course types, even those without a traditional focus on real-world application. ​  Examples of authentic or open, "renewable" assignments include: 

  • Wikipedia assignments
  • Have students c o-create the text
  • Ask students to write exam questions 

For more ideas about how to develop and implement these approaches, listen to this  Podcast on Authentic Assignments , and see this page on Embracing the Messiness of Authentic Assignments . Here are some a dditional issues to consider with authentic assignments and open pedagogy:

  • Privacy and safety concerns. Instructors educate themselves on student privacy needs, make sure that the tools they use do not compromise their privacy, and help students find ways to protect themselves. 
  • Quality concerns . Sometimes instructors are concerned that the quality of student work is not good enough for going public. In their chapter on Open Pedagogy, Robin DeRosa and Scott Robinson encourage us to think about open assignments less as perfectly polished work and more as a portal through which we communicate with other people. Emphasize that writing and creative is an interative process that the web can actually facilitate, and encouage students to keep working on their piece (just like the flexteaching website!). Another strategy is to be selective about the audience for teh work and how you position it. If multiple groups or students are working on the same topic, have the class select a couple that they particularly like, and then crowdsource the revisions. 

​2.  L everage other online tools

  • Assignments that use social media or instant messaging platforms. The vast array of social media and instant messaging platforms makes it possible for us to create opportunities for students to tie what they are learning to the world around them,  as it is happening  (e.g., Twitter or other social media platforms, instant messaging).  For example, consider this assignment (showcased in a podcast by Derek Bruff of Vanderbilt University) in which a professor asked students in her ornithology course to use  Twitter  to post about birds they saw in everyday life:  http:// leadinglinespod.com/episodes/episode-40margaret-rubega/
  • Timeline assignments. An engaging platform called Tiki Toki enables students to create creative timeline assignments that could be relevant in many disciplines. This example is for a course on the History of Love and Marriage:  https://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/227613/Love-and-Marriage/

3. Use assignments to connect students to KU’s distinctive intellectual and cultural resources.

For example:

  • Course-embedded research assignments.  Incorporating research into your classes is an excellent way to give a larger number of students some hands-on experience in utilizing the tools and perspectives of your discipline to create new knowledge and understanding.  connect with the Center for UG Research .
  • Community engagement. Deepen your students’ understanding of how what they are learning addresses community-identified needs through service learning, community-based participatory research, and other community-engaged initiatives. Connect with the Center for Service Learning for ideas and support.  
  • Connect your assignments to KU’s cultural resources such as the Spencer Museum of Art ,  through guided class visits tailored to specific curricula or more in-depth collaborative projects that span semesters. Go here for more information.  
  • Develop assignments that help your students become critical thinkers and engaged citizens by building skills in information literacy and research. Connect with the KU Libraries instruction team to learn how to integrate these goals into your cou rse and assignments
  • "Bring in" distinguished alumni, professionals in your field, or faculty colleagues from elsewhere. Our increased reliance on the online modality has created new opportunities to connect our students to other experts or role models through a live or recorded Zoom session.  With travel restricted by the pandemic, KU faculty are finding that many distinguished alumni or other professionals in their field are more readily available for virtal class visits now than in previous years. 

4. Consider making connections between your assignments and those in a related class.

This can create a more integrated and engaging experience for students while lightening the design load for any one faculty member or instructor.   For example:

  • Connected assignments  in which students in one course serve as the audience or “beneficiaries” for student work produced in another course. For example, Andrea Follmer Greenhoot (KU Department of Psychology) had students in her 400-level Cognitive Development course  write advice columns  that provided evidence-backed, practical recommendations to parents about pressing questions. She later used one of these columns as a reading in her 300-level Child Development course.  
  • Common problems or grand challenges  that are addressed from different angles in different courses.
  • Shared modules  that help students build skills or knowledge that are relevant to multiple courses.

Where to go for more ideas and inspiration:

The CTE portfolio and poster gallery (a rich repository of creative ideas, searchable by topic and discipline). 

NILOAs Assignment Library is a similar national resource. 

Online book on open educational resources and open pedagogy.

Derek Bruff’s Blog on teaching and technology  and Leading Lines  podcast series..

Robin DeRosa’s Actual Blog .

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that he or she will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove her point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, he or she still has to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and she already knows everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

Assessment Rubrics

A rubric is commonly defined as a tool that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing criteria, and for each criteria, describing levels of quality (Andrade, 2000; Arter & Chappuis, 2007; Stiggins, 2001). Criteria are used in determining the level at which student work meets expectations. Markers of quality give students a clear idea about what must be done to demonstrate a certain level of mastery, understanding, or proficiency (i.e., "Exceeds Expectations" does xyz, "Meets Expectations" does only xy or yz, "Developing" does only x or y or z). Rubrics can be used for any assignment in a course, or for any way in which students are asked to demonstrate what they've learned. They can also be used to facilitate self and peer-reviews of student work.

Rubrics aren't just for summative evaluation. They can be used as a teaching tool as well. When used as part of a formative assessment, they can help students understand both the holistic nature and/or specific analytics of learning expected, the level of learning expected, and then make decisions about their current level of learning to inform revision and improvement (Reddy & Andrade, 2010). 

Why use rubrics?

Rubrics help instructors:

Provide students with feedback that is clear, directed and focused on ways to improve learning.

Demystify assignment expectations so students can focus on the work instead of guessing "what the instructor wants."

Reduce time spent on grading and develop consistency in how you evaluate student learning across students and throughout a class.

Rubrics help students:

Focus their efforts on completing assignments in line with clearly set expectations.

Self and Peer-reflect on their learning, making informed changes to achieve the desired learning level.

Developing a Rubric

During the process of developing a rubric, instructors might:

Select an assignment for your course - ideally one you identify as time intensive to grade, or students report as having unclear expectations.

Decide what you want students to demonstrate about their learning through that assignment. These are your criteria.

Identify the markers of quality on which you feel comfortable evaluating students’ level of learning - often along with a numerical scale (i.e., "Accomplished," "Emerging," "Beginning" for a developmental approach).

Give students the rubric ahead of time. Advise them to use it in guiding their completion of the assignment.

It can be overwhelming to create a rubric for every assignment in a class at once, so start by creating one rubric for one assignment. See how it goes and develop more from there! Also, do not reinvent the wheel. Rubric templates and examples exist all over the Internet, or consider asking colleagues if they have developed rubrics for similar assignments. 

Sample Rubrics

Examples of holistic and analytic rubrics : see Tables 2 & 3 in “Rubrics: Tools for Making Learning Goals and Evaluation Criteria Explicit for Both Teachers and Learners” (Allen & Tanner, 2006)

Examples across assessment types : see “Creating and Using Rubrics,” Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and & Educational Innovation

“VALUE Rubrics” : see the Association of American Colleges and Universities set of free, downloadable rubrics, with foci including creative thinking, problem solving, and information literacy. 

Andrade, H. 2000. Using rubrics to promote thinking and learning. Educational Leadership 57, no. 5: 13–18. Arter, J., and J. Chappuis. 2007. Creating and recognizing quality rubrics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall. Stiggins, R.J. 2001. Student-involved classroom assessment. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Reddy, Y., & Andrade, H. (2010). A review of rubric use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 35(4), 435-448.

Creative Ways to Design Assignments for Student Success

what is assignment for learning

There are many creative ways in which teachers can design assignments to support student success. We can do this while simultaneously not getting bogged down with the various obstructions that keep students from both completing and learning from the assignments. For me, assignments fall into two categories: those that are graded automatically, such as SmartBook® readings and quizzes in Connect®; and those that I need to grade by hand, such as writing assignments.  

For those of us teaching large, introductory classes, most of our assignments are graded automatically, which is great for our time management. But our students will ultimately deliver a plethora of colorful excuses as to why they were not completed and why extensions are warranted. How do we give them a little leeway to make the semester run more smoothly, so there are fewer worries about a reading that was missed or a quiz that went by too quickly? Here are a few tactics I use. 

Automatically graded assignments: 

Multiple assignment attempts  

  • This eases the mental pressure of a timed assignment and covers computer mishaps or human error on the first attempt. 
  • You can deduct points for every attempt taken if you are worried about students taking advantage. 

Automatically dropped assignments  

  • Within a subset or set of assignments, automatically drop a few from grading. This can take care of all excuses for missing an assignment. 
  • Additionally, you can give a little grade boost to those who complete all their assignments (over a certain grade). 

Due dates  

  • Consider staggering due dates during the week instead of making them all due on Sunday night.  
  • Set the due date for readings the night before you cover the material, so students are prepared.  

Requirements  

  • If we want our students to read, then make a reading assignment a requirement of a quiz. 

The tactics above might be applied to written assignments, too. An easy way to bolster a student’s interest and investment in these longer assignments is to give them a choice. This could be in the topic, location of study, or presentation style. For example, if you want them to analyze the susceptibility of a beach to hurricane threat, why not let them choose the location? In this way, you will also be gaining a lot of new information for your own use. 

With a small amount of effort, we can design our classes, so students concentrate on learning the subject matter rather than the logistics of completing the assignments. 

Attending a conference?

Checkout if mcgraw hill will be in attendance:.

Search form

  • About Faculty Development and Support
  • Programs and Funding Opportunities

Consultations, Observations, and Services

  • Strategic Resources & Digital Publications
  • Canvas @ Yale Support
  • Learning Environments @ Yale
  • Teaching Workshops
  • Teaching Consultations and Classroom Observations
  • Teaching Programs
  • Spring Teaching Forum
  • Written and Oral Communication Workshops and Panels
  • Writing Resources & Tutorials
  • About the Graduate Writing Laboratory
  • Writing and Public Speaking Consultations
  • Writing Workshops and Panels
  • Writing Peer-Review Groups
  • Writing Retreats and All Writes
  • Online Writing Resources for Graduate Students
  • About Teaching Development for Graduate and Professional School Students
  • Teaching Programs and Grants
  • Teaching Forums
  • Resources for Graduate Student Teachers
  • About Undergraduate Writing and Tutoring
  • Academic Strategies Program
  • The Writing Center
  • STEM Tutoring & Programs
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Center for Language Study
  • Online Course Catalog
  • Antiracist Pedagogy
  • NECQL 2019: NorthEast Consortium for Quantitative Literacy XXII Meeting
  • STEMinar Series
  • Teaching in Context: Troubling Times
  • Helmsley Postdoctoral Teaching Scholars
  • Pedagogical Partners
  • Instructional Materials
  • Evaluation & Research
  • STEM Education Job Opportunities
  • Yale Connect
  • Online Education Legal Statements

You are here

Designing assignments.

Making a few revisions to your writing assignments can make a big difference in the writing your students will produce. The most effective changes involve specifying what you would like students to do in the assignment and suggesting concrete steps students can take to achieve that goal.

Clarify what you want your students to do…and why they’re doing it

Kerry Walk, former director of the Princeton Writing Program, offers these principles to consider when designing a writing assignment (condensed and adapted from the original): “At least one sentence on your assignment sheet should explicitly state what you want students to do. The assignment is usually signaled by a verb, such as “analyze,” “assess,” “explain,” or “discuss.” For example, in a history course, after reading a model biography, students were directed as follows: ‘Your assignment is to write your own biographical essay on Mao, using Mao’s reminiscences (as told to a Western journalist), speeches, encyclopedia articles, a medical account from Mao’s physician, and two contradictory obituaries.’ In addition, including a purpose for the assignment can provide crucial focus and guidance. Explaining to students why they’re doing a particular assignment can help them grasp the big picture—what you’re trying to teach them and why learning it is worthwhile. For example, ‘This assignment has three goals: for you to (1) see how the concepts we’ve learned thus far can be used in a different field from economics, (2) learn how to write about a model, and (3) learn to critique a model or how to defend one.’”

Link course writing goals to assignments

Students are more likely to understand what you are asking them to do if the assignment re-uses language that you’ve already introduced in class discussions, in writing activities, or in your Writing Guide. In the assignment below, Yale professor Dorlores Hayden uses writing terms that have been introduced in class:

Choose your home town or any other town or city you have lived in for at least a year. Based upon the readings on the history of transportation, discuss how well or how poorly pedestrian, horse-drawn, steam- powered, and electric transportation might have served your town or city before the gasoline automobile. (If you live in a twentieth-century automobile-oriented suburb, consider rural transportation patterns before the car and the suburban houses.) How did topography affect transportation choices? How did transportation choices affect the local economy and the built environment? Length, 1000 words (4 typed pages plus a plan of the place and/or a photograph). Be sure to argue a strong thesis and back it up with quotations from the readings as well as your own analysis of the plan or photograph.

Give students methods for approaching their work

Strong writing assignments not only identify a clear writing task, they often provide suggestions for how students might begin to accomplish the task. In order to avoid overloading students with information and suggestions, it is often useful to separate the assignment prompt and the advice for approaching the assignment. Below is an example of this strategy from one of Yale’s English 114 sections:

Assignment: In the essays we have read so far, a debate has emerged over what constitutes cosmopolitan practice , loosely defined as concrete actions motivated by a cosmopolitan philosophy or perspective. Using these readings as evidence, write a 5-6-page essay in which you make an argument for your own definition of effective cosmopolitan practice.

Method: In order to develop this essay, you must engage in a critical conversation with the essays we have read in class. In creating your definition of cosmopolitan practice, you will necessarily draw upon the ideas of these authors. You must show how you are building upon, altering, or working in opposition to their ideas and definitions through your quotation and analysis of their concepts and evidence.

Questions to consider:  These questions are designed to prompt your thinking. You do not need to address all these questions in the body of your essay; instead, refer to any of these issues only as they support your ideas.

  • How would you define cosmopolitan practice? How does your definition draw upon or conflict with the definitions offered by the authors we have read so far?
  • What are the strengths of your definition of cosmopolitan practice? What problems does it address? How do the essays we have read support those strengths? How do those strengths address weaknesses in other writers’ arguments?
  • What are the limitations or problems with your definition? How would the authors we have read critique your definition? How would you respond to those critiques?

Case Study: A Sample Writing Assignment and Revision

A student responding to the following assignment felt totally at sea, with good reason:

Write an essay describing the various conceptions of property found in your readings and the different arguments for and against the distribution of property and the various justifications of, and attacks on, ownership. Which of these arguments has any merits? What is the role of property in the various political systems discussed? The essay should concentrate on Hobbes, Locke, and Marx.

“How am I supposed to structure the essay?” the student asked. “Address the first question, comparing the three guys? Address the second question, doing the same, etc.? … Do I talk about each author separately in terms of their conceptions of the nation, and then have a section that compares their arguments, or do I have a 4 part essay which is really 4 essays (two pages each) answering each question? What am I going to put in the intro, and the conclusion?” Given the tangle of ideas presented in the assignment, the student’s panic and confusion are understandable.

A better-formulated assignment poses significant challenges, but one of them is not wondering what the instructor secretly wants. Here’s a possible revision, which follows the guidelines suggested above:

[Course Name and Title]

[Instructor’s Name]

Due date: Thursday, February 24, at 11:10am in section

Length: 5-6pp. double-spaced

Limiting your reading to the sourcebook, write a comparative analysis of Hobbes’s, Locke’s, and Marx’s conceptions of property.

The purpose of this assignment is to help you synthesize some difficult political theory and identify the profound differences among some key theorists.

The best papers will focus on a single shared aspect of the theorists’ respective political ideologies, such as how property is distributed, whether it should be owned, or what role it serves politically. The best papers will not only focus on a specific topic, but will state a clear and arguable thesis about it (“the three authors have differing conceptions of property” is neither) and go on to describe and assess the authors’ viewpoints clearly and concisely.

Note that this revised assignment is now not only clearer than the original; it also requires less regurgitation and more sustained thought.

For more information about crafting and staging your assignments, see “ The Papers We Want to Read ” by Linda Simon, Social Studies; Jan/Feb90, Vol. 81 Issue 1, p37, 3p. (The link to Simon’s article will only work if your computer is on the Yale campus.) See also the discussion of Revising Assignments in the section of this website on Addressing Plagiarism .

YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN

what is assignment for learning

Reserve a Room

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning partners with departments and groups on-campus throughout the year to share its space. Please review the reservation form and submit a request.

what is assignment for learning

Writing Consultations

For graduate students looking for expert advice on planning, drafting, and revising their research paper, dissertation, presentation, or any other writing project.

what is assignment for learning

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning routinely supports members of the Yale community with individual instructional consultations and classroom observations.

A survey conducted by the Associated Press has revealed that around 58% of parents feel that their child has been given the right amount of assignments. Educators are thrilled that the majority has supported the thought of allocating assignments, and they think that it is just right.

However, the question arises when students question the importance of giving assignments for better growth. Studies have shown that students often get unsuccessful in understanding the importance of assignments.

What key purpose does an assignment have? They often question how an assignment could be beneficial. Let us explain why a teacher thinks it is best to allot assignments. The essential functions of assigning tasks or giving assignments come from many intentions. 

what is assignment for learning

What is the Importance of Assignment- For Students 

The importance of the assignment is not a new concept. The principle of allocating assignments stems from students’ learning process. It helps teachers to evaluate the student’s understanding of the subject. Assignments develop different practical skills and increase their knowledge base significantly. As per educational experts, mastering a topic is not an impossible task to achieve if they learn and develop these skills.  

Cognitive enhancement 

While doing assignments, students learn how to conduct research on subjects and comprise the data for using the information in the given tasks. Working on your assignment helps you learn diverse subjects, compare facts, and understand related concepts. It assists your brain in processing information and memorizing the required one. This exercise enhances your brain activity and directly impacts cognitive growth. 

Ensured knowledge gain   

When your teacher gives you an assignment, they intend to let you know the importance of the assignment. Working on it helps students to develop their thoughts on particular subjects. The idea supports students to get deep insights and also enriches their learning. Continuous learning opens up the window for knowledge on diverse topics. The learning horizon expanded, and students gained expertise in subjects over time.      

Improve students’ writing pattern 

Experts have revealed in a study that most students find it challenging to complete assignments as they are not good at writing. With proper assistance or teacher guidance, students can practice writing repetitively.

It encourages them to try their hands at different writing styles, and gradually they will improve their own writing pattern and increase their writing speed. It contributes to their writing improvement and makes it certain that students get a confidence boost. 

Increased focus on studies 

When your teachers allocate a task to complete assignments, it is somehow linked to your academic growth, especially for the university and grad school students. Therefore, it demands ultimate concentration to establish your insights regarding the topics of your assignments.

This process assists you in achieving good growth in your academic career and aids students in learning concepts quickly with better focus. It ensures that you stay focused while doing work and deliver better results.         

Build planning & organization tactics

Planning and task organization are as necessary as writing the assignment. As per educational experts, when you work on assignments, you start planning to structurize the content and what type of information you will use and then organize your workflow accordingly. This process supports you in building your skill to plan things beforehand and organize them to get them done without hassles.   

Adopt advanced research technique

Assignments expand the horizon of research skills among students. Learners explore different topics, gather diverse knowledge on different aspects of a particular topic, and use useful information on their tasks. Students adopt advanced research techniques to search for relevant information from diversified sources and identify correct facts and stats through these steps.  

Augmenting reasoning & analytical skills 

Crafting an assignment has one more sign that we overlook. Experts have enough proof that doing an assignment augments students’ reasoning abilities. They started thinking logically and used their analytical skills while writing their assignments. It offers clarity of the assignment subject, and they gradually develop their own perspective about the subject and offer that through assignments.     

Boost your time management skills 

Time management is one of the key skills that develop through assignments. It makes them disciplined and conscious of the value of time during their study years. However, students often delay as they get enough time. Set deadlines help students manage their time. Therefore, students understand that they need to invest their time wisely and also it’s necessary to complete assignments on time or before the deadline.  

Assignment Benefits

What is the Importance of Assignment- Other Functions From Teacher’s Perspective: 

Develop an understanding between teacher and students  .

Teachers ensure that students get clear instructions from their end through the assignment as it is necessary. They also get a glimpse of how much students have understood the subject. The clarity regarding the topic ensures that whether students have mastered the topic or need further clarification to eliminate doubts and confusion. It creates an understanding between the teaching faculty and learners. 

Clarity- what is the reason for choosing the assignment 

The Reason for the assignment allocated to students should be clear. The transparency of why teachers have assigned the task enables learners to understand why it is essential for their knowledge growth. With understanding, the students try to fulfill the objective. Overall, it fuels their thoughts that successfully evoke their insights. 

Building a strong relationship- Showing how to complete tasks 

When a teacher shows students how to complete tasks, it builds a strong student-teacher relationship. Firstly, students understand the teacher’s perspective and why they are entrusted with assignments. Secondly, it also encourages them to handle problems intelligently. This single activity also offers them the right direction in completing their tasks within the shortest period without sacrificing quality. 

Get a view of what students have understood and their perspective 

Assigning a task brings forth the students’ understanding of a particular subject. Moreover, when they attempt an assignment, it reflects their perspective on the specific subject. The process is related to the integration of appreciative learning principles. In this principle, teachers see how students interpret the subject. Students master the subject effectively, whereas teachers find the evaluation process relatively easy when done correctly. 

Chance to clear doubts or confusion regarding the assignment  

Mastering a subject needs practice and deep understanding from a teacher’s perspective. It could be possible only if students dedicate their time to assignments. While doing assignments, students could face conceptual difficulties, or some parts could confuse them. Through the task, teachers can clear their doubts and confusion and ensure that they fully understand what they are learning.   

Offering individualistic provisions to complete an assignment 

Students are divergent, and their thoughts are diverse in intelligence, temperaments, and aptitudes. Their differences reflect in their assignments and the insight they present. This process gives them a fair understanding of students’ future and their scope to grow. It also helps teachers to understand their differences and recognize their individualistic approaches.  

Conclusion:

You have already become acquainted with the factors that translate what is the importance of assignments in academics. It plays a vital role in increasing the students’ growth multifold. 

TutorBin is one of the best assignment help for students. Our experts connect students to improve their learning opportunities. Therefore, it creates scopes of effective education for all, irrespective of location, race, and education system. We have a strong team of tutors, and our team offers diverse services, including lab work, project reports, writing services, and presentations.

We often got queries like what is the importance of assignments to students. Likewise, if you have something similar in mind regarding your assignment & homework, comment below. We will answer you. In conclusion, we would like to remind you that if you want to know how our services help achieve academic success, search www.tutorbin.com . Our executive will get back to you shortly with their expert recommendations. 

  • E- Learning
  • Online Learning

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

Comment * NEXT

what is assignment for learning

Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment.

You May Also Like

10 Simple Python Projects for Beginners to Build Confidence

10 Simple Python Projects for Beginners to Build Confidence

From Zero to Hero: Learning Python Through Online Resources

From Zero to Hero: Learning Python Through Online Resources

Real-World Java Projects to Enhance Your Portfolio and Skills

Real-World Java Projects to Enhance Your Portfolio and Skills

Challenges of Doing Calculus Homework & How You Can Overcome It? 

Challenges of Doing Calculus Homework & How You Can Overcome It? 

Math Homework Help- Guidance to Excel in Math Learning

Math Homework Help- Guidance to Excel in Math Learning

Online homework help, get homework help.

Get Answer within 15-30 minutes

what is assignment for learning

Check out our free tool Math Problem Solver

About tutorbin, what do we do.

We offer an array of online homework help and other services for our students and tutors to choose from based on their needs and expertise. As an integrated platform for both tutors and students, we provide real time sessions, online assignment and homework help and project work assistance.

about tutorbin | what we do

Who are we?

TutorBin is an integrated online homework help and tutoring platform serving as a one stop solution for students and online tutors. Students benefit from the experience and domain knowledge of global subject matter experts.

Eberly Center

Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating assignments.

Here are some general suggestions and questions to consider when creating assignments. There are also many other resources in print and on the web that provide examples of interesting, discipline-specific assignment ideas.

Consider your learning objectives.

What do you want students to learn in your course? What could they do that would show you that they have learned it? To determine assignments that truly serve your course objectives, it is useful to write out your objectives in this form: I want my students to be able to ____. Use active, measurable verbs as you complete that sentence (e.g., compare theories, discuss ramifications, recommend strategies), and your learning objectives will point you towards suitable assignments.

Design assignments that are interesting and challenging.

This is the fun side of assignment design. Consider how to focus students’ thinking in ways that are creative, challenging, and motivating. Think beyond the conventional assignment type! For example, one American historian requires students to write diary entries for a hypothetical Nebraska farmwoman in the 1890s. By specifying that students’ diary entries must demonstrate the breadth of their historical knowledge (e.g., gender, economics, technology, diet, family structure), the instructor gets students to exercise their imaginations while also accomplishing the learning objectives of the course (Walvoord & Anderson, 1989, p. 25).

Double-check alignment.

After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to analyze and evaluate texts, but your assignments only ask them to summarize texts, you would need to add an analytical and evaluative dimension to some assignments or rethink your learning objectives.

Name assignments accurately.

Students can be misled by assignments that are named inappropriately. For example, if you want students to analyze a product’s strengths and weaknesses but you call the assignment a “product description,” students may focus all their energies on the descriptive, not the critical, elements of the task. Thus, it is important to ensure that the titles of your assignments communicate their intention accurately to students.

Consider sequencing.

Think about how to order your assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence. Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor’s final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem, earlier assignments should reinforce component skills, including the ability to identify and discuss key environmental issues, apply evaluative criteria, and find appropriate research sources.

Think about scheduling.

Consider your intended assignments in relation to the academic calendar and decide how they can be reasonably spaced throughout the semester, taking into account holidays and key campus events. Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing, integrating the contributions of team members, developing a presentation), and be sure to allow sufficient time between assignments.

Check feasibility.

Is the workload you have in mind reasonable for your students? Is the grading burden manageable for you? Sometimes there are ways to reduce workload (whether for you or for students) without compromising learning objectives. For example, if a primary objective in assigning a project is for students to identify an interesting engineering problem and do some preliminary research on it, it might be reasonable to require students to submit a project proposal and annotated bibliography rather than a fully developed report. If your learning objectives are clear, you will see where corners can be cut without sacrificing educational quality.

Articulate the task description clearly.

If an assignment is vague, students may interpret it any number of ways – and not necessarily how you intended. Thus, it is critical to clearly and unambiguously identify the task students are to do (e.g., design a website to help high school students locate environmental resources, create an annotated bibliography of readings on apartheid). It can be helpful to differentiate the central task (what students are supposed to produce) from other advice and information you provide in your assignment description.

Establish clear performance criteria.

Different instructors apply different criteria when grading student work, so it’s important that you clearly articulate to students what your criteria are. To do so, think about the best student work you have seen on similar tasks and try to identify the specific characteristics that made it excellent, such as clarity of thought, originality, logical organization, or use of a wide range of sources. Then identify the characteristics of the worst student work you have seen, such as shaky evidence, weak organizational structure, or lack of focus. Identifying these characteristics can help you consciously articulate the criteria you already apply. It is important to communicate these criteria to students, whether in your assignment description or as a separate rubric or scoring guide . Clearly articulated performance criteria can prevent unnecessary confusion about your expectations while also setting a high standard for students to meet.

Specify the intended audience.

Students make assumptions about the audience they are addressing in papers and presentations, which influences how they pitch their message. For example, students may assume that, since the instructor is their primary audience, they do not need to define discipline-specific terms or concepts. These assumptions may not match the instructor’s expectations. Thus, it is important on assignments to specify the intended audience http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm (e.g., undergraduates with no biology background, a potential funder who does not know engineering).

Specify the purpose of the assignment.

If students are unclear about the goals or purpose of the assignment, they may make unnecessary mistakes. For example, if students believe an assignment is focused on summarizing research as opposed to evaluating it, they may seriously miscalculate the task and put their energies in the wrong place. The same is true they think the goal of an economics problem set is to find the correct answer, rather than demonstrate a clear chain of economic reasoning. Consequently, it is important to make your objectives for the assignment clear to students.

Specify the parameters.

If you have specific parameters in mind for the assignment (e.g., length, size, formatting, citation conventions) you should be sure to specify them in your assignment description. Otherwise, students may misapply conventions and formats they learned in other courses that are not appropriate for yours.

A Checklist for Designing Assignments

Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself when creating an assignment.

  • Provided a written description of the assignment (in the syllabus or in a separate document)?
  • Specified the purpose of the assignment?
  • Indicated the intended audience?
  • Articulated the instructions in precise and unambiguous language?
  • Provided information about the appropriate format and presentation (e.g., page length, typed, cover sheet, bibliography)?  
  • Indicated special instructions, such as a particular citation style or headings?  
  • Specified the due date and the consequences for missing it?
  • Articulated performance criteria clearly?
  • Indicated the assignment’s point value or percentage of the course grade?
  • Provided students (where appropriate) with models or samples?

Adapted from the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm .

CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!

  • Faculty Support
  • Graduate Student Support
  • Canvas @ Carnegie Mellon
  • Quick Links

creative commons image

  • Privacy Policy

Buy Me a Coffee

Research Method

Home » Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Assignment

Definition:

Assignment is a task given to students by a teacher or professor, usually as a means of assessing their understanding and application of course material. Assignments can take various forms, including essays, research papers, presentations, problem sets, lab reports, and more.

Assignments are typically designed to be completed outside of class time and may require independent research, critical thinking, and analysis. They are often graded and used as a significant component of a student’s overall course grade. The instructions for an assignment usually specify the goals, requirements, and deadlines for completion, and students are expected to meet these criteria to earn a good grade.

History of Assignment

The use of assignments as a tool for teaching and learning has been a part of education for centuries. Following is a brief history of the Assignment.

  • Ancient Times: Assignments such as writing exercises, recitations, and memorization tasks were used to reinforce learning.
  • Medieval Period : Universities began to develop the concept of the assignment, with students completing essays, commentaries, and translations to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 19th Century : With the growth of schools and universities, assignments became more widespread and were used to assess student progress and achievement.
  • 20th Century: The rise of distance education and online learning led to the further development of assignments as an integral part of the educational process.
  • Present Day: Assignments continue to be used in a variety of educational settings and are seen as an effective way to promote student learning and assess student achievement. The nature and format of assignments continue to evolve in response to changing educational needs and technological innovations.

Types of Assignment

Here are some of the most common types of assignments:

An essay is a piece of writing that presents an argument, analysis, or interpretation of a topic or question. It usually consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Essay structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs : each paragraph presents a different argument or idea, with evidence and analysis to support it
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and reiterates the thesis statement

Research paper

A research paper involves gathering and analyzing information on a particular topic, and presenting the findings in a well-structured, documented paper. It usually involves conducting original research, collecting data, and presenting it in a clear, organized manner.

Research paper structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the paper, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the paper’s main points and conclusions
  • Introduction : provides background information on the topic and research question
  • Literature review: summarizes previous research on the topic
  • Methodology : explains how the research was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the research
  • Discussion : interprets the results and draws conclusions
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key findings and implications

A case study involves analyzing a real-life situation, problem or issue, and presenting a solution or recommendations based on the analysis. It often involves extensive research, data analysis, and critical thinking.

Case study structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the case study and its purpose
  • Background : provides context and background information on the case
  • Analysis : examines the key issues and problems in the case
  • Solution/recommendations: proposes solutions or recommendations based on the analysis
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key points and implications

A lab report is a scientific document that summarizes the results of a laboratory experiment or research project. It typically includes an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Lab report structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the experiment, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the purpose, methodology, and results of the experiment
  • Methods : explains how the experiment was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the experiment

Presentation

A presentation involves delivering information, data or findings to an audience, often with the use of visual aids such as slides, charts, or diagrams. It requires clear communication skills, good organization, and effective use of technology.

Presentation structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and purpose of the presentation
  • Body : presents the main points, findings, or data, with the help of visual aids
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and provides a closing statement

Creative Project

A creative project is an assignment that requires students to produce something original, such as a painting, sculpture, video, or creative writing piece. It allows students to demonstrate their creativity and artistic skills.

Creative project structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the project and its purpose
  • Body : presents the creative work, with explanations or descriptions as needed
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key elements and reflects on the creative process.

Examples of Assignments

Following are Examples of Assignment templates samples:

Essay template:

I. Introduction

  • Hook: Grab the reader’s attention with a catchy opening sentence.
  • Background: Provide some context or background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement: State the main argument or point of your essay.

II. Body paragraphs

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the main idea or argument of the paragraph.
  • Evidence: Provide evidence or examples to support your point.
  • Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your argument.
  • Transition: Use a transition sentence to lead into the next paragraph.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate thesis: Summarize your main argument or point.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your essay.
  • Concluding thoughts: End with a final thought or call to action.

Research paper template:

I. Title page

  • Title: Give your paper a descriptive title.
  • Author: Include your name and institutional affiliation.
  • Date: Provide the date the paper was submitted.

II. Abstract

  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of your research.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct your research.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of your research.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions of your research.

III. Introduction

  • Background: Provide some background information on the topic.
  • Research question: State your research question or hypothesis.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your research.

IV. Literature review

  • Background: Summarize previous research on the topic.
  • Gaps in research: Identify gaps or areas that need further research.

V. Methodology

  • Participants: Describe the participants in your study.
  • Procedure: Explain the procedure you used to conduct your research.
  • Measures: Describe the measures you used to collect data.

VI. Results

  • Quantitative results: Summarize the quantitative data you collected.
  • Qualitative results: Summarize the qualitative data you collected.

VII. Discussion

  • Interpretation: Interpret the results and explain what they mean.
  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your research.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of your research.

VIII. Conclusion

  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your paper.

Case study template:

  • Background: Provide background information on the case.
  • Research question: State the research question or problem you are examining.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the case study.

II. Analysis

  • Problem: Identify the main problem or issue in the case.
  • Factors: Describe the factors that contributed to the problem.
  • Alternative solutions: Describe potential solutions to the problem.

III. Solution/recommendations

  • Proposed solution: Describe the solution you are proposing.
  • Rationale: Explain why this solution is the best one.
  • Implementation: Describe how the solution can be implemented.

IV. Conclusion

  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your case study.

Lab report template:

  • Title: Give your report a descriptive title.
  • Date: Provide the date the report was submitted.
  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of the experiment.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct the experiment.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of the experiment.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions
  • Background: Provide some background information on the experiment.
  • Hypothesis: State your hypothesis or research question.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the experiment.

IV. Materials and methods

  • Materials: List the materials and equipment used in the experiment.
  • Procedure: Describe the procedure you followed to conduct the experiment.
  • Data: Present the data you collected in tables or graphs.
  • Analysis: Analyze the data and describe the patterns or trends you observed.

VI. Discussion

  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your findings.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of the experiment.

VII. Conclusion

  • Restate hypothesis: Summarize your hypothesis or research question.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your report.

Presentation template:

  • Attention grabber: Grab the audience’s attention with a catchy opening.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your presentation.
  • Overview: Provide an overview of what you will cover in your presentation.

II. Main points

  • Main point 1: Present the first main point of your presentation.
  • Supporting details: Provide supporting details or evidence to support your point.
  • Main point 2: Present the second main point of your presentation.
  • Main point 3: Present the third main point of your presentation.
  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your presentation.
  • Call to action: End with a final thought or call to action.

Creative writing template:

  • Setting: Describe the setting of your story.
  • Characters: Introduce the main characters of your story.
  • Rising action: Introduce the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Climax: Present the most intense moment of the story.
  • Falling action: Resolve the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Resolution: Describe how the conflict or problem was resolved.
  • Final thoughts: End with a final thought or reflection on the story.

How to Write Assignment

Here is a general guide on how to write an assignment:

  • Understand the assignment prompt: Before you begin writing, make sure you understand what the assignment requires. Read the prompt carefully and make note of any specific requirements or guidelines.
  • Research and gather information: Depending on the type of assignment, you may need to do research to gather information to support your argument or points. Use credible sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites.
  • Organize your ideas : Once you have gathered all the necessary information, organize your ideas into a clear and logical structure. Consider creating an outline or diagram to help you visualize your ideas.
  • Write a draft: Begin writing your assignment using your organized ideas and research. Don’t worry too much about grammar or sentence structure at this point; the goal is to get your thoughts down on paper.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written a draft, revise and edit your work. Make sure your ideas are presented in a clear and concise manner, and that your sentences and paragraphs flow smoothly.
  • Proofread: Finally, proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It’s a good idea to have someone else read over your assignment as well to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
  • Submit your assignment : Once you are satisfied with your work, submit your assignment according to the instructions provided by your instructor or professor.

Applications of Assignment

Assignments have many applications across different fields and industries. Here are a few examples:

  • Education : Assignments are a common tool used in education to help students learn and demonstrate their knowledge. They can be used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic, to develop critical thinking skills, and to improve writing and research abilities.
  • Business : Assignments can be used in the business world to assess employee skills, to evaluate job performance, and to provide training opportunities. They can also be used to develop business plans, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
  • Journalism : Assignments are often used in journalism to produce news articles, features, and investigative reports. Journalists may be assigned to cover a particular event or topic, or to research and write a story on a specific subject.
  • Research : Assignments can be used in research to collect and analyze data, to conduct experiments, and to present findings in written or oral form. Researchers may be assigned to conduct research on a specific topic, to write a research paper, or to present their findings at a conference or seminar.
  • Government : Assignments can be used in government to develop policy proposals, to conduct research, and to analyze data. Government officials may be assigned to work on a specific project or to conduct research on a particular topic.
  • Non-profit organizations: Assignments can be used in non-profit organizations to develop fundraising strategies, to plan events, and to conduct research. Volunteers may be assigned to work on a specific project or to help with a particular task.

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of an assignment varies depending on the context in which it is given. However, some common purposes of assignments include:

  • Assessing learning: Assignments are often used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic or concept. This allows educators to determine if a student has mastered the material or if they need additional support.
  • Developing skills: Assignments can be used to develop a wide range of skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and communication. Assignments that require students to analyze and synthesize information can help to build these skills.
  • Encouraging creativity: Assignments can be designed to encourage students to be creative and think outside the box. This can help to foster innovation and original thinking.
  • Providing feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for teachers to provide feedback to students on their progress and performance. Feedback can help students to understand where they need to improve and to develop a growth mindset.
  • Meeting learning objectives : Assignments can be designed to help students meet specific learning objectives or outcomes. For example, a writing assignment may be designed to help students improve their writing skills, while a research assignment may be designed to help students develop their research skills.

When to write Assignment

Assignments are typically given by instructors or professors as part of a course or academic program. The timing of when to write an assignment will depend on the specific requirements of the course or program, but in general, assignments should be completed within the timeframe specified by the instructor or program guidelines.

It is important to begin working on assignments as soon as possible to ensure enough time for research, writing, and revisions. Waiting until the last minute can result in rushed work and lower quality output.

It is also important to prioritize assignments based on their due dates and the amount of work required. This will help to manage time effectively and ensure that all assignments are completed on time.

In addition to assignments given by instructors or professors, there may be other situations where writing an assignment is necessary. For example, in the workplace, assignments may be given to complete a specific project or task. In these situations, it is important to establish clear deadlines and expectations to ensure that the assignment is completed on time and to a high standard.

Characteristics of Assignment

Here are some common characteristics of assignments:

  • Purpose : Assignments have a specific purpose, such as assessing knowledge or developing skills. They are designed to help students learn and achieve specific learning objectives.
  • Requirements: Assignments have specific requirements that must be met, such as a word count, format, or specific content. These requirements are usually provided by the instructor or professor.
  • Deadline: Assignments have a specific deadline for completion, which is usually set by the instructor or professor. It is important to meet the deadline to avoid penalties or lower grades.
  • Individual or group work: Assignments can be completed individually or as part of a group. Group assignments may require collaboration and communication with other group members.
  • Feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for feedback from the instructor or professor. This feedback can help students to identify areas of improvement and to develop their skills.
  • Academic integrity: Assignments require academic integrity, which means that students must submit original work and avoid plagiarism. This includes citing sources properly and following ethical guidelines.
  • Learning outcomes : Assignments are designed to help students achieve specific learning outcomes. These outcomes are usually related to the course objectives and may include developing critical thinking skills, writing abilities, or subject-specific knowledge.

Advantages of Assignment

There are several advantages of assignment, including:

  • Helps in learning: Assignments help students to reinforce their learning and understanding of a particular topic. By completing assignments, students get to apply the concepts learned in class, which helps them to better understand and retain the information.
  • Develops critical thinking skills: Assignments often require students to think critically and analyze information in order to come up with a solution or answer. This helps to develop their critical thinking skills, which are important for success in many areas of life.
  • Encourages creativity: Assignments that require students to create something, such as a piece of writing or a project, can encourage creativity and innovation. This can help students to develop new ideas and perspectives, which can be beneficial in many areas of life.
  • Builds time-management skills: Assignments often come with deadlines, which can help students to develop time-management skills. Learning how to manage time effectively is an important skill that can help students to succeed in many areas of life.
  • Provides feedback: Assignments provide an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their work. This feedback can help students to identify areas where they need to improve and can help them to grow and develop.

Limitations of Assignment

There are also some limitations of assignments that should be considered, including:

  • Limited scope: Assignments are often limited in scope, and may not provide a comprehensive understanding of a particular topic. They may only cover a specific aspect of a topic, and may not provide a full picture of the subject matter.
  • Lack of engagement: Some assignments may not engage students in the learning process, particularly if they are repetitive or not challenging enough. This can lead to a lack of motivation and interest in the subject matter.
  • Time-consuming: Assignments can be time-consuming, particularly if they require a lot of research or writing. This can be a disadvantage for students who have other commitments, such as work or extracurricular activities.
  • Unreliable assessment: The assessment of assignments can be subjective and may not always accurately reflect a student’s understanding or abilities. The grading may be influenced by factors such as the instructor’s personal biases or the student’s writing style.
  • Lack of feedback : Although assignments can provide feedback, this feedback may not always be detailed or useful. Instructors may not have the time or resources to provide detailed feedback on every assignment, which can limit the value of the feedback that students receive.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Data collection

Data Collection – Methods Types and Examples

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Research Process

Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Research Design

Research Design – Types, Methods and Examples

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Institutional Review Board – Application Sample...

Evaluating Research

Evaluating Research – Process, Examples and...

K-12 Resources By Teachers, For Teachers Provided by the K-12 Teachers Alliance

  • Teaching Strategies
  • Classroom Activities
  • Classroom Management
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Professional Development
  • Lesson Plans
  • Writing Prompts
  • Graduate Programs

Differentiated Instruction Strategies: Tiered Assignments

Janelle cox.

  • September 23, 2014

Male teacher standing in front of a chalkboard behind a group of students

Many teachers use differentiated instruction strategies  as a way to reach all learners and accommodate each student’s learning style. One very helpful tactic to employ differentiated instruction is called tiered assignments—a technique often used within flexible groups.

Much like flexible grouping—or differentiated instruction as a whole, really—tiered assignments do not lock students into ability boxes. Instead, particular student clusters are assigned specific tasks within each group according to their readiness and comprehension without making them feel completely compartmentalized away from peers at different achievement levels.

There are six main ways to structure tiered assignments: challenge level, complexity, outcome, process, product, or resources. It is your job, based upon the specific learning tasks you’re focused on, to determine the best approach. Here we will take a brief look at these techniques.

Ways to Structure Tiered Assignments

Challenge level.

Tiering can be based on challenge level where student groups will tackle different assignments. Teachers can use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide to help them develop tasks of structure or questions at various levels. For example:

  • Group 1:  Students who need content reinforcement or practice will complete one activity that helps  build  understanding.
  • Group 2:  Students who have a firm understanding will complete another activity that  extends  what they already know.

When you tier assignments by complexity, you are addressing the needs of students who are at different levels using the same assignment. The trick here is to vary the focus of the assignment based upon whether each group is ready for more advanced work or simply trying to wrap their head around the concept for the first time. You can direct your students to create a poster on a specific issue—recycling and environmental care, for instance—but one group will focus on a singular perspective, while the other will consider several points of view and present an argument for or against each angle.

Tiering assignments by differentiated outcome is vaguely similar to complexity—all of your students will use the same materials, but depending on their readiness levels will actually have a different outcome. It may sound strange at first, but this strategy is quite beneficial to help advanced students work on more progressive applications of their student learning.

This differentiated instruction strategy is exactly what it sounds like—student groups will use different processes to achieve similar outcomes based upon readiness.

Tiered assignments can also be differentiated based on product. Teachers can use the Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences to form groups that will hone particular skills for particular learning styles . For example, one group would be bodily/kinesthetic, and their task is to create and act out a skit. Another group would be visual/spatial, and their task would be to illustrate.

Tiering resources means that you are matching project materials to student groups based on readiness or instructional need. One flexible group may use a magazine while another may use a traditional textbook. As a tip, you should assign resources based on knowledge and readiness, but also consider the group’s reading level and comprehension.

How to Make Tiering Invisible to Students

From time to time, students may question why they are working on different assignments, using varied materials, or coming to dissimilar outcomes altogether. This could be a blow to your classroom morale if you’re not tactful in making your tiers invisible.

Make it a point to tell students that each group is using different materials or completing different activities so they can share what they learned with the class. Be neutral when grouping students, use numbers or colors for group names, and be equally enthusiastic while explaining assignments to each cluster.

Also, it’s important to make each tiered assignment equally interesting, engaging, and fair in terms of student expectations. The more flexible groups and materials you use, the more students will accept that this is the norm.

Tiering assignments is a fair way to differentiate learning. It allows teachers to meet the needs of all students while using varying levels of tasks. It’s a concept that can be infused into homework assignments, small groups, or even learning centers. If done properly, it can be a very effective method to differentiate learning because it challenges all students.

  • #DifferentiatedInstruction , #TieredAssignments

More in Teaching Strategies

A close-up of a students hand and their pencil grip.

Write On! Fun Ways to Help Kids Master Pencil Grip

Teaching children proper pencil grip will lay the foundation for successful writing. Holding…

A close-up of colored pencils with the words “executive function skills” written in chalk in between them.

Practical Strategies for Supporting Executive Function in the Classroom

Executive functions are self-regulating skills that we use every single day. Imagine a…

A student works on her handwriting with her teacher.

Helping Students Improve Their Handwriting

Despite the widespread use of technology in the classroom, handwriting remains an essential…

An organized classroom has a colorful focus wall hung up on the wall.

Unleashing the Learning Potential of Classroom Focus Walls

Focus walls have emerged as an effective tool in today’s classrooms, and for…

Defining Assignment from Learning Goals

Published on: 07 Apr 2015 , 5 mins to read

Defining Assignment from Learning Goals

' src=

Assignments take the learning to a deeper level. If you want learners to internalize their newly acquired information, develop assignments that encourage them to reflect and synthesize. Adult learners bring with them amazing experiences and knowledge.

Consider each learner, a unique reservoir of knowledge, ready to mix the new with the known. The result of this synthesis is believing, attitude sharing and transformation. Think how potent this learning becomes, when assignments are graded by peers.

Assignments reinforce learning goals

As a trainer or a course moderator, be prepared to review a kaleidoscope of experiences and knowledge put down in a single assignment. Assignments reinforce learning and development goals. They clarify complex concepts by articulating observations and learning with real-world context. Assignments create meaningful learning experiences. The trick here is to create the right assignments’ questions.

Ever come across an assignment that simply makes you repeat the module, in your own words? Or ever attempted an assignment that makes you look for resources beyond the course? Both scenarios confirm a bad assignment design. Why do you think assignments like these did not work?

Assignments are to be linked strictly with the course learning goals. Learning goals and their sub-goals act as perfect criteria for evaluating the assignment.

Design an assignment that requests a demonstration of each learning goal. Allocate points to each learning goal and accumulate them for grading the assignment. What have we accomplished through this exercise? We ensured that learners are clear on why they are working on the assignment. We ensured that learners know how to apply the learning goals in a problem situation provided in the assignment. We also ensured that learning goals are achieved in the assignment.

Consider asking yourself the following questions before developing assignments:

  • Why are you giving your learners this assignment? What is its purpose?
  • What learning goals are associated with the assignment?
  • What are the components of the learning goal (can each component yield a separate assignment or can one assignment cover all learning goals).
  • Make sure you write down all learning goals associated with the assignment.
  • Demonstrate in depth and wide understanding
  • Present information in a clear and organized way
  • Incorporate a variety of sources of evidence
  • Use accurate grammar and mechanics
  • Use learning goals and their components as a criteria for assessment.
  • What should the completed assignment look like? What should be included and what format is acceptable?
  • What skills and knowledge as well as attitude change do you want learners to demonstrate?
  • How much time will be devoted to the assignment?
  • What readings, resources and technologies are learners expected to use?
  • Is collaboration and group work allowed?
  • As a trainer, what type of assistance you provide? For example, will the assignment be submitted as drafts improved through feedbacks?
  • Knowledge: define, describe, know, indicate, restate, show, select.
  • Comprehension: choose, cite, convert, select, distinguish, estimate, and give examples.
  • Application: Act, administer, apply, change,  facilitate, illustrate, modify.
  • Analysis: analyze, appraise, assess, break down, differentiate, infer, inspect, discriminate,
  • Synthesis: construct, create, design, develop, establish, explain, formulate, generate.
  • Evaluation: assess, collaborate, compare, conclude, contrast, and criticize.
  • By identifying the components of a learning goal, you can describe the assignment or a problem scenario more clearly. You can create worthwhile and meaningful learning experiences. You also set clear expectations from the course and the learner. As a result, the teaching and learning process become transparent. Learners are confident about their learning and take more responsibility for their achievements.

Determine the grading weight of the assignment

After developing an assignment using the check list above, the next step is to determine the grading weight of the assignment. The best way to create a common understanding for grading an assignment is to create a grading rubric that will be used to evaluate the assignment. Distribute grades according to the degree of excellence demonstrated in the assignment.

What is the criteria for “Excellent”? Definitely clear evidence of all learning goal components of the assignment. What is the criteria for “Good”, “Fair” and “Satisfactory”? Each degree of performance reflects the degree of learning goals achieved in the assignment. With this grade allocation exercise, you can be assured that you have linked your assignment with learning goals.

Assignments are tricky to create but with the aid of the checklist in this article, you can be confident in your design. Assignments that are challenging and demand exploration beyond the scope of the course add excitement. Connect the assignment at a personal level with the learner, by asking their opinion and how they would do things differently.

Collaborative assignments are a great way to establish teams and leadership skills in online learners. Case studies and vignettes connect assignments to real-world situations thereby encouraging transfer of learning to performance context. Successful assignment development leads to learning goal achievement, provided both are linked strongly.

Save time, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the market. Try it for free for as long as you want and discover why our customers consistently give us 4.5 stars (out of 5!)

Try for free!

| Tags: Learning Goals & Objectives

You may also like

Top Ways To Align Training Goals With Business Strategy

How to create the perfect training: Aligning training goals with business strategy

Learning Goals: The Why and the How - TalentLMS Blog

Learning Goals: The Why and the How

Defining Assessment Items from Learning Goals - TalentLMS

Defining Assessment Items from Learning Goals

Popular articles, training evaluation methods: a comprehensive guide to techniques & tools.

1 month ago by Elena Koumparaki, 23 mins to read

The definitive guide to new employee orientation

2 years ago by Christina Pavlou, 17 mins to read

Would you take a pay cut to keep working remotely? 62% say no.

2 years ago by Athena Marousis, 17 mins to read

The top 26 most used online employee training tools

2 years ago by Christina Pavlou, 11 mins to read

Training Objectives: 5 Tips To Set Realistic Goals For Your Training

1 month ago by Aris Apostolopoulos, 9 mins to read

We love social, let’s connect!

Start your elearning portal in 30 seconds.

Get started it's free!

TalentLMS is free to use for as long as you want! You can always upgrade to a paid plan to get much more!

TalentLMS

Rely on quality and security best practices

  • Integrations
  • Mobile apps
  • Why TalentLMS
  • Get TalentLMS free
  • TalentLibrary
  • TalentCraft
  • Course providers
  • Research by TalentLMS
  • Blended learning
  • What is an LMS?
  • Our customers
  • Training Excellence Awards
  • Customer success

Discover Epignosis software

TalentLMS: Cloud LMS Software - #1 Online Learning Platform

  • Help center
  • Terms of Service

Teaching for Learning @ McGill University

Discussing what matters in higher education.

What’s an assignment that really helped you learn?

' src=

That was the question McGill University’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) asked students on campus in 2018 and again in a campus-wide survey in 2019. Understanding students’ perceptions of how they learn can inform our development of instructor support resources, such as workshops, webinars and resource documents.

When students described assignments that helped them learn, a number of themes emerged. For example, students believe their learning is supported through real-world activities and creative assignments that foster their critical thinking skills. Students also expressed that short, regular assignments that make them stay up to date with course work reinforce their learning.

what is assignment for learning

We thought readers might be interested in seeing examples of assignments—assessment strategies, from instructors’ perspective—that students believe help them learn. So, we decided to add some of the strategies that students told us about in the survey to the Beyond Grading: Strategies from McGill Instructors web page. This online collection of assessment strategies intends to provide colleagues with a go-to place when they’re seeking inspiration for their teaching. (You can read more about this online collection in an earlier post .)

The newly-added strategies call upon students to develop their critical thinking skills in the context of real-world activities: 10 Questions, 10 Answers (W. Archambault), In-class Debate (S. Burgos), and Scientific Source Evaluation (S. Woolley and T. Western). The Hands-on Creative Project (C. Bradley) was deemed a “unique” alternative to the traditional research paper in that it allows students to demonstrate their learning through a variety of media.

COVID-19 has imposed upon many in higher education the need to implement less familiar assessment strategies. If you’re looking for ideas, we hope you’ll check out the strategies from McGill instructors, many of which can be adapted for remote teaching.

More strategies will be added to the online collection in the coming weeks. In the meantime:

  • Read our blog series on Assessment for Learning https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/tag/beyond-grading/ , which highlights interviews with students describing assignments that help them learn.
  • Hear directly from students about assignments that help them learn in this video playlist .

' src=

Carolyn Samuel

Associate Director, Faculty and Teaching Development, and Senior Academic Associate, at McGill's Teaching and Learning Services; former Senior Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre; area of specialization: Second Language Education; loves teaching and learning!

(Photo credit: Owen Egan)

  • Carolyn Samuel https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/author/carolynsamuel/ Preparing for Winter 2024: Seven strategies for success
  • Carolyn Samuel https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/author/carolynsamuel/ Terrific teaching tales
  • Carolyn Samuel https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/author/carolynsamuel/ Seven+ inclusive teaching strategies to support student learning
  • Carolyn Samuel https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/author/carolynsamuel/ What do you do when you’re in the classroom and things go awry in a way you weren’t expecting?

Share this:

0 comments on “ what’s an assignment that really helped you learn ”, leave a reply cancel reply, discover more from teaching for learning @ mcgill university.

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Type your email…

Continue reading

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Assignments

What to consider when using assignments as an assessment method for a course.

An assignment is a piece of (academic) work or task. It provides opportunity for students to learn, practice and demonstrate they have achieved the learning goals. It provides the evidence for the teacher that the students have achieved the goals. The output can be judged using sensory perception (observing, reading, tasting etc.). The assignment can focus on a product as output (e.g. research report, design, prototype, etc.) and/or a process (e.g. research process, group process) and/or the performance of individual skills or competences (e.g. professional skills, communications skills).

what is assignment for learning

When assessing with assignments, we should pay attention to:  >>  validity : we really test what we want to test; the assignment and the way we assess the results are aligned with the learning goals. >> reliability : based on the results, we make a right, just, fair, objective distinction between pass/fail or provide the just grade. Our scoring or grading is done in a consistent way and the  judgments or the grades are meaningful. >> transparency : it clear upfront for the students what they will learn, what they have to do (as evidence; what to deliver or show), how they will be assessed and what to expect during the process. >> the assignment and the feedback provided will support the learning process .  

With the toolbox below, related to the questions and issues mentioned above, we hope to offer you useful tips and guidelines for designing and assessing assignments.

assignment cloud

  • Top 10 tips on designing assessment tasks with particular focuses on learning outcomes, and assessment criteria. Resource: Learnhigher .   Resource picture: Nick Youngson - link to - http://nyphotographic.com/

what is assignment for learning

  • Assessment Criteria . About: characteristics; threshold or marking criteria; hidden criteria.(University of Kent) 
  • Know what it is that you are assessing: writing assessment criteria . Things to remember when writing assessment criteria and an example format.(University of Reading) 

what is assignment for learning

Useful resources to learn more about rubrics, to find templates or examples:

  • What are rubrics and why are they important?  Explanation about the purpose of rubrics and about different types of rubrics. (ASCD, by Susan M. Brookhart)  
  • Introduction to Rubrics . By Danielle Stevens and Antonia Levi from Portland State University. Including templates and examples.
  • Grading and Performance Rubrics . Explanation and some very nice examples. Eberly Center.
  • More Examples of Rubrics and Other Resources . Examples for specific purposes, like class participation, team work, multidisciplinary work, research papers and more. DePaul university Teaching Commons.    

The disadvantage of assignments is, most of the time, that scoring and grading will take a lot of time. Especially if you want to give the students detailed feedback. The resources below may give you some (new) ideas and tips to assess and provide feedback in an efficient as well as an effective way.      

  • Clare Furneaux of the University of Reading (UK) offers her tip for assessing large numbers of students and at the same time provide elaborate feedback. Short video . 
  • Stimulate success.  Tips on providing ‘Feed Forward’ guidance  (tips from the University of Reading, UK).  
  • Grading Student Papers: Reducing Faculty Workload While Improving Feedback to Students . An article by Kathy Pezdek with tips (e.g. using a coding system).  
  • If you are working at the University of Twente and would like some support or just discuss your ideas or plans, please turn to the Technology Enhanced Learning & Teaching group .  
  • The Centre for Teaching Excellence of the University of Waterloo developed a usefull webpage about fast and equitable grading. 

what is assignment for learning

  • Helping Students to Reflect on their Group Work .  With useful instruments and tips.(UNSW)  
  • Methods for Assessing Group Work . A very  worthwhile site about ways to assess group work. With advantages and disadvantages for different methods and formula to provide scores/grades. (University of Waterloo; Centre for Teaching Excellence)   
  • Group Work and Group Assessment . Handbook / guidelines and some useful instruments. (Centre for Academic Development; Victoria University of Wellington) 

Academic integrity is important and most students will agree and act accordingly. But nevertheless fraud occurs occasionally and as an examiner you are expected to detect fraud, whether it is real cheating, like delivering work someone else made, or plagiarism or free-riding. But how can you detect it? And what to do next? In case of plagiarism or free-riding, it might not always happen with the wrong intentions or circumstances may have influenced what happened. Better to look for ways to prevent it, but what can be done? Below you will find some useful resources dealing with these issues.   NB. Specific rules and regulations may apply for your educational programme. For the University of Twente you have to check the Educational Examination Rules (EER) for your own educational programme and the  Rules & Regulations of the Examination Board for your programme or faculty. Be aware that you have to report fraud to the Examination Board!

  • Top10 tips on deterring plagiarism . (LearnHigher site).This resource includes tips on how to prevent and eradicate the appeal for plagiarism. Ideas for task and assessment design are suggested, with a particular focus on the research process.
  • Reduce the risk of plagiarism in just 30 minutes!   Leaflet with tips. (ASKe; Oxford Brookes University)   
  • A short note with 10 tips to prevent freeriding . 

what is assignment for learning

This exercise is especially developed for the course Testing & Assessment. This course is offered by the Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching (CELT), University of Twente. The course is part of the UTQ (BKO) and UEQ (BKE) trajectory. Copyright  CELT-UT / Expertise team T&A.  The material may be used by other parties provided that reference is made. If you would like us to give a workshop on this subject, either in English or Dutch, face-to-face or online, please contact us: [email protected] 

Logo

Advantages and Disadvantages of Assignments For Students

Looking for advantages and disadvantages of Assignments For Students?

We have collected some solid points that will help you understand the pros and cons of Assignments For Students in detail.

But first, let’s understand the topic:

What is Assignments For Students?

Assignments for students are tasks or activities given by teachers to be completed outside of class time. These can include writing essays, solving math problems, or reading books. They help students practice what they’ve learned and prepare for future lessons.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Assignments For Students

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of Assignments For Students:

Advantages and disadvantages of Assignments For Students

Advantages of Assignments For Students

  • Boosts understanding of topics – Assignments help students dive deeper into topics, providing a clear and thorough understanding that goes beyond surface-level knowledge.
  • Encourages independent learning – They promote self-learning, pushing students to study and solve problems on their own, fostering self-reliance.
  • Enhances time management skills – Time management skills are honed as students balance assignments with other responsibilities, teaching them to prioritize tasks.
  • Improves research and writing abilities – Assignments also refine research and writing skills, as students learn to gather information and articulate ideas effectively.
  • Reinforces classroom learning – They serve as a reinforcement tool, solidifying what is taught in the classroom and making learning more effective.

Disadvantages of Assignments For Students

  • Can increase stress levels – Assignments can often lead to elevated stress levels in students due to tight deadlines and high expectations.
  • Limits free time – When students are loaded with assignments, their leisure time gets compromised, affecting their work-life balance.
  • May discourage creativity – The rigid structure of assignments can sometimes curb the creative instincts of students, stifling their innovative ideas.
  • Risks of plagiarism – Assignments also pose the risk of plagiarism as students might copy answers from readily available sources, compromising their learning.
  • Difficulty understanding instructions – Sometimes, students face challenges in comprehending the instructions of assignments, leading to incorrect submissions.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method Of Teaching
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Assets

You can view other “advantages and disadvantages of…” posts by clicking here .

If you have a related query, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Also, kindly share the information with your friends who you think might be interested in reading it.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Instructure Logo

You're signed out

Sign in to ask questions, follow content, and engage with the Community

  • Canvas Basics Guide

What are Assignments?

  • Subscribe to RSS Feed
  • Printer Friendly Page
  • Report Inappropriate Content

in Canvas Basics Guide

Note: You can only embed guides in Canvas courses. Embedding on other sites is not supported.

Community Help

View our top guides and resources:.

To participate in the Instructurer Community, you need to sign up or log in:

what is assignment for learning

Case Study Writing Service
  • Online Essay Writing Help
  • Dissertation Help
Report Writing Service
  • Proofreading Services
  • Powerpoint Presentation Service
  • Research Paper Writing Service
  • Best Assignment Writing Service
  • Help Me Write My Thesis? – All You Need is Here!
  • Sociology Assignment Help
  • Law Assignment Writing Help
  • Nursing Essay Help
  • Accounting Assignment Help
  • Finance Assignments Help
  • Statistics Homework Help
  • Economics Assignment
  • Business Development Assignment Help
  • Marketing Assignment Help
  • Project Management Case Studies
  • Benefits of Assignments

BENEFITS OF ASSIGNMENTS WRITING

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Assignments – Fostering Critical Skills and Real-World Readiness

Benefits of assignments! Did you know that Assignments can enhance your critical thinking, time management, and even communication skills. They promote independent learning, self-motivation, and creativity!

You can gain practical experience and develop skills valued in your future careers by just completing assignments. Assignments help students to handle real-world challenges and solve problems.

They also strengthen relationships between teachers and students through personalized feedback. Successful completion of assignments boosts confidence and self-esteem.

Let’s dive into the Advantages of Assignments!

What is the Benefit of Doing Assignment?

The Advantages of Assignments writing in Education is often seen as just busy work that students must do to earn a grade. However, assignments serve a greater purpose in education.

They are designed to help students develop essential skills and prepare for real-world challenges.

Assignments require students to think critically, manage their time effectively, communicate their ideas clearly, and foster creativity and innovation. They also encourage independent learning and self-motivation.

Doing assignments well helps students feel more confident, improves their relationships with teachers, and gives them helpful work experience.

How does Homework build Confidence?

Completing home work or assignments can successfully boost students confidence and self-esteem.

When students can complete assignments independently and achieve good grades or positive teacher feedback, it validates their abilities and boosts their confidence.

This confidence can than translate into more tremendous success in all areas of life. Confidence and self-esteem are vital for success in education, careers, and personal relationships.

When we believe in ourself and our abilities, then we are more likely to take risks, pursue our goals, and overcome challenges. Assignments allow students to build confidence and self-esteem by demonstrating their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

What are the different types of homework?

There are various types of homework assigned to students, such as Academic Writing including: Practice exercises involve practicing skills learned in class, such as solving math problems or grammar exercises.

  • Reading assignments: Students are assigned readings from textbooks, articles, or novels to enhance their understanding of the subject.
  • Research projects: Students are tasked with researching a specific topic and presenting their findings.
  • Writing assignments: These include essays, report writing , or creative writing tasks that help develop writing skills.

Students solve real-life or theoretical problems to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Does homework promote learning debate

Does homework promote learning debate?

The debate surrounding whether homework promotes learning is ongoing it’s not gonna stop! Supporters argue that homework reinforces concepts learned in class, encourages discipline, and develops time management skills.

But on the other hand some people believe that excessive or poorly organized homework can have adverse effects. These effects include increased stress levels, exhaustion, and an imbalance between school and personal life.

Homework assignment effectiveness depends on factors such as the type and amount assigned and the student’s learning style and circumstances.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through Assignments 

One of the key benefits of assignments is that they require students to engage in critical thinking. Critical thinking involves analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information to make informed decisions or solve problems. 

Despite of all these benefits, Students often think should I pay some one to do my assignment ? Assignments often require students to research a topic, gather relevant information, and than analyze and evaluate it to form their conclusions.

This type of process helps students develop critical thinking skills essential for success in higher education and the workforce.

Employers highly value critical thinking skills because they enable individuals to think independently, make sound judgments, and solve complex problems.

In today’s rapidly changing world, where information is readily available and constantly evolving, the ability to think critically is more important than ever.

Assignments allow students to practice and develop these skills, which will definitely benefit them throughout their lives.

Enhancing Time Management and Organizational Skills

Another essential skill that assignments help develop is time management. Assignments often have deadlines, which require students to manage time effectively to complete them on time.

This means prioritizing tasks, breaking them into smaller, manageable parts, and allocating time for each task. By doing so, students learn how to manage time effectively and meet deadlines.

Time management skills are valuable not only in education but also in all areas of life. Managing time effectively is crucial for meeting work deadlines, balancing commitments, and pursuing personal goals.

Assignments help students by improving skills valuable in their future careers and personal lives.

Improving Communication and Writing Skills

Improving Communication and Writing Skills

Benefits of Assignments are for improving students their communication and writing skills. Students must clearly and effectively express ideas in assignments, such as written reports, presentations, group debates or discussions.

Students learn to express thoughts, organize ideas, and present them well by doing assignments.

Strong communication and even writing skills are essential for success in many careers. Good communication is vital for writing reports, emails, presentations, and talking to colleagues, clients, and customers.

Assignments allow students to practice and develop these skills, which will gonna benefit them in their future careers.

Creativity and Innovation with Assignments

Assignments can also foster creativity and innovation. Assignments often ask students to think creatively, find new solutions, and use their knowledge uniquely.

Assignments promote creative thinking skills in students, which are highly valued in various industries.

Creativity is generating high-quality new ideas, thinking differently, and developing innovative solutions.

It is a valuable design, marketing, advertising, technology, and entrepreneurship skill. Assignments help students think creatively and develop a talent that will benefit them in their future careers.

Encouraging Independent Learning and Self-Motivation

Assignments also encourage independent learning and self-motivation. Unlike lectures or classroom discussions, where information is presented, assignments require students to take responsibility for learning.

They must research, gather information, and apply their knowledge to complete the assignment. This process encourages students to be proactive, take initiative, and become self-directed learners.

Independent learning and self-motivation are valuable for higher education and workforce success.

In higher education, students are expected to take ownership of their learning and pursue knowledge independently.

Employers value individuals who can work independently, take initiative, and continuously learn and adapt to new challenges.

Assignments provide students with the opportunity to develop these skills, which will benefit them throughout their lives.

Preparing Students for Real-World Challenges

Assignments can simulate real-world challenges and prepare students for future careers. Many assignments are designed to replicate the types of tasks and problems that students will encounter in their chosen fields.

By completing these assignments, students gain practical experience and develop valuable skills in the workforce.

For example, a business assignment might require students to develop a marketing plan for a new product, simulating the task they might encounter in a marketing role.

Students gain practical experience developing marketing strategies, conducting market research, and analyzing consumer behavior by completing this assignment.

This experience will be valuable when they enter the workforce and pursue careers in marketing. Assignments also allow students to develop transferable skills that are valuable in any job.

These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and time management.

Students can develop these skills by completing assignments and becoming better prepared for the upcoming challenges in future.

Strengthening Relationships Between Teachers and Students

Assignments can also strengthen relationships between teachers and students. Assignments provide opportunities for teachers to connect with students individually, provide personalized feedback, and offer guidance and support.

This individualized attention can help students feel valued, supported, and motivated to succeed.

Strong relationships between teachers and students are essential for effective teaching and learning. When students feel interconnected to teachers, they are more likely to engage in the learning process, seek help when needed, and perform better academically.

Assignments allow teachers to build these relationships by providing individualized feedback and support.

How Assignment help is beneficial for students?

Well, Online assignment help is also a great opportunity but for the tough time like when you need it urgent! There are lot of advantages of assignments like in several ways:

  • Firstly, it provides access to expert guidance, which can help students to receive assignments that meet the exact criteria set by their professors
  • The Second thing is, online assignment help is accessible 24/7, which means students can seek assistance whenever they need it, providing a level of convenience that is invaluable for students facing tight schedules and deadlines
  • Thirdly, the skills and knowledge gained through online assignment help can prepare students for future challenges, helping them to research effectively, write persuasively, and submit well-researched and structured assignments that are more likely to earn higher grades
  • Fourthly, Cheap assignment can benefit you by saving your time so you can manage your time effectively, especially when juggling multiple assignments and extracurricular activities
  • Finally, assignment writing helps students to develop essential skills such as analytical skills, time management skills, writing skills, and research skills among other skills

In conclusion, assignments are more than just busy work – they serve a greater educational purpose.

Assignments help students develop essential skills such as critical thinking, time management, communication, and creativity. They also encourage independent learning and self-motivation.

By completing assignments successfully, students can build confidence and self-esteem, strengthen relationships with their teachers, and gain valuable practical experience in the workforce.

By recognizing the value of assignments beyond grades and scores, we can better support students in their learning journey and help them reach their full potential.

Assignments offer benefits such as enhancing learning and understanding, developing critical skills, and providing assessment and feedback.

The purpose of an assignment is multifaceted. It allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the content, apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations, develop essential skills, and foster independent learning. Assignments also serve as an assessment tool for teachers to evaluate students’ progress and provide feedback.

Having a well-structured assignment plan brings several benefits. It helps students manage their time effectively, break down complex tasks into manageable steps, stay organized, and meet deadlines. An assignment plan also allows for better allocation of resources, promotes a systematic approach to learning, and reduces stress by providing a clear roadmap for completing the task.

The best place to write an assignment depends on personal preferences. Some find a quiet library or study area conducive, while others prefer a comfortable and organized workspace at home.

International assignments provide benefits like cultural immersion, personal growth, global networking opportunities, and the development of cross-cultural communication skills.

Pros of accepting an overseas assignment include career advancement, exposure to new markets, and cultural enrichment. Cons may have homesickness, family separation, and adjustment difficulties in a new environment.

RELATED ARTICLES

  • Things That Best Assignment Writing Service Do

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • 199+ College Speech Topics
  • 200+ School Speech Topics and Ideas
  • What is a Dissertation – Explain in Detail
  • 8 Best Homework Help Websites for Students To Ace Your Assignment
  • Create a Study Aesthetic Space with these Simple Steps!
  • Benefits Of Cheap Assignment Writing Service
  • Laugh and Learn: 150 Funny Debate Topics for Students with Pdf
  • Define Assignment – Understanding Assignment Rules
  • Short Assignment Crossword Clue
  • Difference Between Stationary Vs Stationery!
  • Manchester Academic Phrasebank
  • Speech Writing Tips To Write A Impactful Speech
  • Advantages Of Computer Networking!

WhatsApp us

IMAGES

  1. How to Write an Assignment: Step by Step Guide

    what is assignment for learning

  2. Everything You Need to Know About Assignment Structure

    what is assignment for learning

  3. Learn How to Structure an Assignment: Tips and Explanations

    what is assignment for learning

  4. Assignment Help Service To Help You Get Better Grades

    what is assignment for learning

  5. Learn How to Write an Assignment Plan and Earn Better Grades!

    what is assignment for learning

  6. How to Start an Assignment Right: Tips and Examples

    what is assignment for learning

VIDEO

  1. Assignment-Learning Video

  2. What’s the assignment?

  3. B.ED. Sem -II // Assignment : Learning and Teaching// BSAUE University

  4. let's talk about acne

  5. assignment LEARNING SKILLS FOR 21ST CENTURY

  6. Calculator By HTML, CSS and JavaScript(Assignment)learning #assignments

COMMENTS

  1. Designing Assignments for Learning

    Designing Assignments for Learning. The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning ...

  2. What is assessment for learning and what are the benefits?

    Assessment for learning, or AfL, is a teaching approach that generates feedback students can use to improve their performance. From a teacher's perspective, this could be as simple as observing class discussions, asking questions and reviewing students' work in progress. AfL is often immediate and informs changes you can make to your lesson ...

  3. How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

    This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations. Gardner, T. (2005, June 12).

  4. Designing Assessments of Student Learning

    As educators, we measure student learning through many means, including assignments, quizzes, and tests. These assessments can be formal or informal, graded or ungraded. But assessment is not simply about awarding points and assigning grades. Learning is a process, not a product, and that process takes place during activities such as recall and ...

  5. Developing engaging assignments

    Here are some ways you can use assignment design to engage your students. 1. Try A uthentic Assignments, or Social Pedagogy or Open pedagogy. Embrace and leverage the online medium through authentic assignments, social pedagogy open pedagogy. Giving students authentic reasons for their work in a course can increase motivation and deepen learning.

  6. Understanding Assignments

    What this handout is about. The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms ...

  7. Assessment Rubrics

    Assessment Rubrics. A rubric is commonly defined as a tool that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing criteria, and for each criteria, describing levels of quality (Andrade, 2000; Arter & Chappuis, 2007; Stiggins, 2001). Criteria are used in determining the level at which student work meets expectations.

  8. Creative Ways to Design Assignments for Student Success

    For me, assignments fall into two categories: those that are graded automatically, such as SmartBook® readings and quizzes in Connect®; and those that I need to grade by hand, such as writing assignments. For those of us teaching large, introductory classes, most of our assignments are graded automatically, which is great for our time management.

  9. PDF How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

    between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like "busy work." For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching ommons. 2. The levels of your ...

  10. Designing Assignments

    Designing Assignments. Making a few revisions to your writing assignments can make a big difference in the writing your students will produce. The most effective changes involve specifying what you would like students to do in the assignment and suggesting concrete steps students can take to achieve that goal. Kerry Walk, former director of the ...

  11. What is the Importance of Assignment- For Students

    Continuous learning opens up the window for knowledge on diverse topics. The learning horizon expanded, and students gained expertise in subjects over time. Improve students' writing pattern . Experts have revealed in a study that most students find it challenging to complete assignments as they are not good at writing.

  12. Learning Assignment

    The aim of the learning task is to help the learner achieve specified learning outcomes. However, Limberg (2007) found that each student experiences the task given by the teacher differently. An assignment introduced by the teacher is actually a cluster of assignment variants as perceived by students. Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2007, p.

  13. Creating Assignments

    Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor's final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem ...

  14. Assignment

    The use of assignments as a tool for teaching and learning has been a part of education for centuries. Following is a brief history of the Assignment. Ancient Times: Assignments such as writing exercises, recitations, and memorization tasks were used to reinforce learning.

  15. Digital Assignment Guides

    Tips For Designing a Digital Assignment. Establish and clarify your teaching and learning goals for the project and use those to formulate a grading rubric. Include objective, gradable moments in the process of planning and producing the project. Even if students are all using the same tools, the finished products may be different enough that ...

  16. Differentiated Instruction Strategies: Tiered Assignments

    Tiered assignments can also be differentiated based on product. Teachers can use the Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences to form groups that will hone particular skills for particular learning styles. For example, one group would be bodily/kinesthetic, and their task is to create and act out a skit. Another group would be visual/spatial ...

  17. Defining Assignment from Learning Goals

    Assignments are to be linked strictly with the course learning goals. Learning goals and their sub-goals act as perfect criteria for evaluating the assignment. Design an assignment that requests a demonstration of each learning goal. Allocate points to each learning goal and accumulate them for grading the assignment.

  18. What's an assignment that really helped you learn?

    When students described assignments that helped them learn, a number of themes emerged. For example, students believe their learning is supported through real-world activities and creative assignments that foster their critical thinking skills. Students also expressed that short, regular assignments that make them stay up to date with course ...

  19. Assignments

    An assignment is a piece of (academic) work or task. It provides opportunity for students to learn, practice and demonstrate they have achieved the learning goals. It provides the evidence for the teacher that the students have achieved the goals. The output can be judged using sensory perception (observing, reading, tasting etc.).

  20. Advantages and Disadvantages of Assignments For Students

    Advantages of Assignments For Students. Boosts understanding of topics - Assignments help students dive deeper into topics, providing a clear and thorough understanding that goes beyond surface-level knowledge.; Encourages independent learning - They promote self-learning, pushing students to study and solve problems on their own, fostering self-reliance.

  21. (PDF) The Use of Assignments in Education

    Abstract. In all educational levels, teachers assign their students with different activities to practice and reinforce what they have learnt. Further, assignments are valuable educational tools ...

  22. What are Assignments?

    Assignments can be used to: Assess how well students are achieving course Outcomes. Set up online submissions that can be quickly graded in the SpeedGrader. Grade online as well as student work submitted "on-paper". Create differentiated assignments for sections. Set up peer reviews. Grade Discussions, either by the whole class or student groups.

  23. How Benefits of Assignments Promote Independent Learning

    Benefits of assignments! Did you know that Assignments can enhance your critical thinking, time management, and even communication skills. They promote independent learning, self-motivation, and creativity! You can gain practical experience and develop skills valued in your future careers by just completing assignments.