Dr. Cole Bennett recently shared tips and best practice regarding writing assignments. What is a professor looking for when he or she assigns a writing prompt?


  • A response appropriate to the prompt
  • Sophisticated writing including correct grammar, approximation of in-field writing, proper citation, and an assignment that is complete
  • An investment of time, energy, and attention to the assignment


If the previous items are what a professor wants in a writing assignment, how can one structure the process to ensure greater student success? Consider Dr. Bennett’s suggestions:


  • Decide if you’re asking students to summarize, synthesize, argue, or reflect. Based on the answer, carefully and clearly articulate the purpose to the students. 
  • Support and allow for the writing process in class and outside of class. Guide students through pre-writing, drafting, and revising prior to turning in a finished product.
  • Explain the Writing Center and encourage students to seek out their services early in the writing process.
  • Be willing to fail bad writing. Demand college-level writing.
  • Allow for revision based on what seems appropriate for your course and the specific assignment.


Transparency and clarity with writing assignments lessens stress for professors and students while increasing the possibility of quality student writing.