Carefully crafted assignments are a critical part of the teaching, learning, and assessment process. Thus, developing powerful, clear assignments is one of the most consequential tasks that faculty undertake in their work as educators. While many considerations go into designing effective assignments, these webpages and resources are focused on designing effective assignments for program learning outcomes assessment.
Value of Assignment Design
When carefully structured, assignments elicit knowledge and skills that faculty and programs deem important and help communicate expectations to students. Effective assignments also engage students to give their best effort. In this way, assignments yield direct evidence of authentic student accomplishment. Additionally, faculty-developed assignments may provide more information for program improvement, and more valid assessment, than other forms of assessment (such as externally developed standardized tests). But to yield these benefits, assignments must be carefully thought through and designed.
Assignment Design at WSU
WSU faculty and programs identify their own assignments within frameworks of good practice. Assignments send a signal to students about what the instructor considers worth learning in a course, and also offer feedback on how well students are meeting expectations. Generally speaking, assignments should focus on one or more of the course learning outcomes, and key assignments in a course may also be aligned with program learning outcomes. Descriptions of course assignments are required on course syllabi at WSU, see Required Syllabus Elements for more information.
Assignment Design Resources and Toolkits
The following resources are provided to assist faculty and programs in designing and refining assignments to more effectively foster and assess student learning, while increasing possibilities for student success. In addition to general suggestions and good practices to consider when creating assignments, ACE provides resources for faculty on particular aspects of assignment design:
ACE Services for Assignment Design
We’re here to help — contact us for more information or to request our services
- One-on-one or group consultations
- Interactive workshops
Spotlights Related to Assignment Design
Highlighting program assessment in action
- ATL Visit to WSU Tri-Cities and Assignment Design Workshop
- March 28 Faculty Panel – Capstone Courses: Developing and Refining the Culminating Experience for Seniors
- Faculty Creation and Validation of a Microbiology Concept Inventory (School of Molecular Biosciences)
- Faculty Work to Enhance Learning in Capstone Courses: Hutchings Workshop