MAKING GOOD WRITING ASSIGNMENTSWhen students turn in essays that have little to say and that are boring to read, teachers often blame the students for not trying. Actually,
the problem may be in the assignment. There is no such thing as “the
perfect assignment, ” but some are definitely better than others and
lead to more thoughtful responses from students. Too often, problems
in students' writing can be traced back to poorly constructed assignments. Fortunately, assignments can be improved significantly
through following a few simple steps.
Planning and Outcome ObjectivesGood assignments take time and planning. They have measurable outcome objectives that are linked to broader goals and objectives defined
by the course and by the series of courses in which writing instruction
occurs. Educators generally differentiate goals and objects on the basis
of specificity. Goals tend to be expressed in terms of mastery, whereas
outcome objectives tend to be expressed in terms of performance or demonstrable skill. (Years ago, outcome objectives were expressed
largely in terms of behaviors, reflecting the influence of behavioral
psychology.) In a language arts class, for example, we might find statements similar to the following:
|• ||Goals: Students will study and understand various forms of expository writing, including reports of events and information, interpretation, argumentation, and evaluation.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice.
Contributors: James D. Williams - Author.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 279.
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