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Summary: The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes.Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Assignment essay tasks are set to assist students to develop mastery of their study subject.
Firstly, assignment tasks enhance understandings about subject matter.
As an assessment tool, assignment essays have some disadvantages for lecturers and students.
It has been found that assignment essays consume a great deal of staff time and money to mark and student time to prepare (Sankey & Liger, 2005, p. A consequence of these problems is that feedback to students is frequently delayed, and this is much less useful to students than rapid feedback (p. It is partly because of these disadvantages of time and expense that other assessments such as multiple-choice tests and short answer questions have an enduring place in the tertiary learning environment. Journal of Research in University Education, 9(2), 114-125.
Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned either to be done in class, which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student, or as homework, which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation.
Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence.
Yang and Baker (2005) reason that “to master your learning materials and extend your understandings, you need to write about the meanings you gain from your research” (p. Secondly, research (Jinx, 2004; Zapper, 2006) clearly demonstrates that students learn the writing conventions of a subject area while they are researching, reading and writing in their discipline.
This activity helps them to “crack the code” of the discipline (Bloggs, 2003, p. Thus, students are learning subject matter and how to write in that disciplinary area by researching and writing assignment essays.
The weight of evidence, however, supports the writing of assignment essays for student assessment because this approach has such positive and proven effects for improved student learning.
The following exercise helps you to get started with developing your ‘read the writer’ skills.