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Assignment Design Checklist

While there is no single recipe for effective assignment design across the disciplines (or even within disciplines), research does suggest that certain ingredients are essential in maximizing student engagement, clarifying expectations, and improving outcomes.  The checklist below offers an overview of these ingredients.  Faculty may amend or adapt this list to suit their own purposes.

____ Purposefulness: How clearly is the assignment situated in the course curriculum?  To what extent does the assignment sheet articulate connections to the course objectives, other course assignments, and/or tasks that students may need to perform in the future?

____ Task: Just how engaging is the task at hand – that is, how much critical thinking, problem-solving, and meaning-making does it require of students?  In other words, how much room do students have to exercise agency?

____ Rhetorical Situation: How clearly and explicitly does the assignment define the writing situation, the writer’s role (or purpose), and the intended audience?

____ Process: To what extent does the assignment feature built-in opportunities for feedback (e.g., from the instructor, fellow students, etc.) and revision?

____ Expectations: How detailed and clear are the technical requirements, including those related to genre conventions, project scope (i.e., length, depth), research guidelines, citation style, and mechanics?