Chapter 2 of the book Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence, written by Amy Guptill (2016), is called “What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment.” This chapter presents its readers with specific ways of understanding professors’ tasks and developing pieces of writing that will be positively graded by the instructors. The author provides students with tips that will help to understand their audience and purpose of the task, read the assignment prompt attentively, analyze the grading rubric, and engage in critical thinking. Thus, this summary will discuss these practices in more detail and prove that their successful implementation ensures that a professor will be satisfied with the result.
The two fundamental principles that each student has to use while completing their assignments are identifying their audience and defining the primary goal of the writing. Some teachers specify a particular group of people that they want their students to communicate with; however, if the audience is not described, it is recommended to write for peers who have basic knowledge about the discussed issue. In addition, discovering a specific goal will help students to succeed in any writing assignment. They have to put themselves into their professor’s shoes and highlight why the task was given, how it matches the learning course, what has to be achieved, and why it is important.
Carefully analyzing the assignment prompt will help the students to understand the main requirements and evaluation criteria of the task. This goal can be attained by identifying the verbs the instructor used to explain the homework. For example, while some assignments will ask to compare two variables, others will instruct to reflect on a specific topic. In case this strategy does not help, individuals can try putting their writing in the context and free-write, which will eventually contribute to the emergence of quality content. Moreover, students can always receive help from their teachers by asking appropriate clarifying questions.
Grading rubrics developed by professors can be described as critical tools for any college student. This part of the assignment description provides individuals with particular rules and requirements of the task. Creating the grading rubric makes teachers generate a specific statement about their expectations; thus, it is essential to analyze it in detail and follow it while completing the assignment. Furthermore, rubrics encourage students to be responsible for the outcomes and act as independent writers.
Finally, engaging in critical thinking can help students explore the most exciting, challenging, and comprehensive ideas and formulate appropriate conclusions. To think critically, students should be able to state the goal of their writing, discover and interpret academic sources, provide arguments, and analyze possible alternatives. Furthermore, individuals should not only discuss the evidence for their claims but also find unexplored areas and provide personal opinions about them. Consequently, the instructor will see that the student researched the topic thoroughly and found support for individual ideas.
Overall, the second chapter of the book Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence provides college students with various tips that help to understand writing assignments and develop successful works while considering their professor’s expectations. It highlights the importance of identifying the audience and the purpose, analyzing the assignment prompt, following the grading rubric, and engaging in critical thinking. Consequently, this summary explored the mentioned points in detail and proved that these tips would help students to understand their professors and attain positive results.