Writing effective assignment instructions

Dr. Dannelle D. Stevens, Professor of Education at Portland State University, and co-author of Introduction to Rubrics recently shared her suggestions to the The Professional and Organizational Development Network (POD Network) for writing assignment instructions which I think are really helpful.  I am sharing these suggestions and examples with her permission:

“1. Title conveys type of assignment.
Not “Term paper” but “Research paper: Describes and explains challenges for women pioneers on Oregon Trail from 1842 to 1865″

2.The purpose of the assignment is clear.
The purpose of this paper is for you to refine your research skills, to practice analysis and synthesis of historical documents, and to learn about and appreciate what women experienced on the Oregon trail from 1842 to 1865.

3. Describes what completed assignment will look like.
The paper should include at least 10 secondary and 5 primary sources. It should be at least 10 pages long, double-spaced with 12 point font.

4. Tells point value in relation to other assignments.
The paper is worth 20 points out of the 100 points for all assignments in the class.

5. Describes how you will score the assignment (uses a rubric).
The rubric below elaborates this task description and will be used to score the assignment.”

Please also note that Canvas has a rubric tool that can be easily used for assignment grading.  Check with the instructional design team if you need help setting up your assignments or rubrics.

Using Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Proactive Approach for Online Learning

This short article describes three strategies for online formative assessment —  1. directed paraphrasing, 2. student-generated test questions, and 3. double-entry journals. Click here to read more: Classroom Assessment Techniques.