Role of Assignment Essays in Tertiary Education

Topics: University, Education, Writing Pages: 3 (727 words) Published: August 5, 2013

Assignment essays are developed from set questions that give students a period of time to research a topic and produce their answer with references to their sources of information. While there are some disadvantages with using assignment essays as an assessment tool, there are sound educational purposes underpinning this practice. This essay examines the reasons why assignment essays are beneficial for student learning and considers some of the problems with this method of assessment. Body paragraph 1

Assignment essay tasks are set to assist students to develop mastery of their study subject. Firstly, assignment tasks enhance understandings about subject matter. 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. 1). 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. 44). Thus, students are learning subject matter and how to write in that disciplinary area by researching and writing assignment essays. Body paragraph 2

Using assignment essays for assessment supports student learning better than the traditional examination system. It is considered that course-work assignment essays can lessen the extreme stress experienced by some students over 'sudden-death' end of semester examinations:

If we insist that all students write about everything they have learned in their study courses at the same time and in the same place (e.g. in examinations), we are not giving all of our students equal opportunities. Some students are not daunted by the exam experience while others suffer 'exam nerves' and perform at the lowest level of their capabilities. (Wonderland University, 2006, p. 4) Additionally, Jones et...

References: Bloggs, J. (2003). Linking teaching, learning and succeeding in higher
Jinx, J.M. (2004). Student essay writing. Journal of Research in University
Education, 9(2), 114-125.
Jones, J., Smith, P.L., Brown, K., Zong J., Thompson, K. & Fung, P.A. (2004).
Helpline: Essays and the university student
Sankey, J.M. & Liger, T.U. (2003). Learning to write essays [CD-ROM].
Sydney: Wonderland University.
Taylor, G. (1989). The student 's writing guide for the arts and
social sciences
Wonderland University (2006). Attributes of a university
Yang, S. & Baker, O.E. (2005). Essay writing and the tertiary student.
Melbourne: Diamond Press.
Zapper, Y. (2006). Learning essay-writing. In F.T. Fax & Y. Phoney
(Eds.), Learning Experiences at University (pp
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