What can you find out from the assignment brief?

When you get your assignment it is important to study the assignment brief this will make it clear what you need to do and what you need to include.

The assignment brief will likely cover some of the following points:

  • Learning outcomes for module
  • Criteria for assessment
  • Word length
  • Deadline
  • Notes about layout eg; Arial 12, 1.5 spacing
  • Additional guidance
  • If it is a Draft/Formative/Summative assignment

It is particularly important to look at the learning outcomes and the assessment criteria as this is what you will be marked on. The learning outcomes will cover things that you are expected to learn in the module, this is often subject knowledge. The assessment criteria is the things that you will be marked on, this is likely to include skills such as referencing and structure.

Some people like to make a plan as soon as they have read the assignment brief. However, you may not have enough knowledge of the topic to do that straight away. It is likely that you might need to do some reading around the topic first before you are certain about what to include. You may find it helpful to look at the assessment criteria and consider:

  • What do you need to include ?
  • What do you already know about the topic ?+ any relevant sources
  • What do you need to find out ?

From there you can identify items on your reading list that could be helpful and then do a library search for anything else that you need. Once you have done more reading you will be in a better position to make a plan. You can use your assignment brief as a checklist to make sure you have planned to include all essential element before you start writing.

Emily Forster

Emily Forster is a lecturer in the Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS).