A key step in translating goals into an effective assignment is to communicate goals to students. The assignment description should include a statement of assignment goals and should indicate how those goals relate to overall course goals. In addition to instructions for assignment stages (notes, drafts, etc.) and clear statements of due dates, the description should explain how all stages work together to support assignment and course goals.
Having articulated goals to students, you can further develop an effective assignment by identifying a rhetorical context for studentsâ€™ writing. Imagine a real setting and a real audience for writing that achieves assignment goals. For example, if my goal is to deepen studentsâ€™ understanding of a controversial issue and to foster analytical and persuasive writing skills, I might ask students to write a hypothetical editorial column for a national magazine. If available, I might even provide a real audience for student writing—perhaps readers of a local or campus newspaper that publishes editorials.
To read more about rhetorical context for writing assignments, see the Rhetorical Context section of this guide.