Even if we've communicated an assignment's purpose to our students, they'll most likely assess the focus of our assignment sheets in determining what and how to write. If, for example, I explain that an assignment's purpose is to engage students in a debate about a subject but focus on citation formats in my assignment sheet, I am likely to receive more research papers than argument essays. Similarly, if I focus on format issues such as margins, font size, and word count, my students will probably focus as much attention on these issues as they do on the content of their writing. As with any kind of writing, the focus of an assignment sheet should reflect the purpose of the assignment.
View Establishing Rhetorical Context Within Assignments