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Things to Include on Writing Assignment Handouts

Whenever you assign students to write for your course, it’s important to provide your specific requirements for the assignment—in writing. Providing your requirements helps students to understand your expectations, gives them a reference when they are working on the assignment, and sends the message that you yourself value writing.

In addition, implementing the third bullet in this list may also help to reduce incidents of plagiarism—the more you make students responsible for producing pieces of the finished work as they develop their writing, the more difficult it is to cheat.

That said, here are a few things you might include on an assignment sheet:

  • A brief explanation of the nature and purpose of the writing assignment—to report, to pose an argument, to explore, to explain, etc.
  • A brief explanation of how the assignment fits into the course’s learning outcomes.
  • A breakdown of the stages students are responsible for—e.g., topic proposal, outline, rough draft, finished piece—and information about how these requirements may influence their grade.
  • A listing of other requirements, as appropriate—length, manuscript format, research requirements, and so on.
  • A brief statement about grading criteria (rubric).

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