You need a clear understanding of what the instructor wants before starting on any assignment of project. Then you will want to translate assignment terms and requirements into useful clues as to what your instructor expects. When you are not sure, remember to send an email to your instructor with specific questions early on in the process.

The first step is to read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it.

Interpreting the Assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Terms that might be used to determine the task

Begin with Background Content

Most assignment will be related to the materials you have studied in the course up to the point of the assignment. As you read the assignment or project requirements, start by identifying which theories, formulas, and graphics relate. Consider what research you will need to do to complete the project.

Determine what is Required

As you begin an assignment, you will want to review any rubrics and checklists that your instructor has provided. A rubric typically looks like a grid, and explains the criteria for each level of performance (for example, what quality of work will achieve a 5/5, what will achieve 4/5 and so on). Be sure that you understand what is required before you begin each assignment.

Key Questions

Consider the following questions as you analyze your assignment:

Download a printable version of these questions

Next: Use Your Rubric to Evaluate Your Work