University Writing Instructor Guidelines:
Designing writing assignments that are accessible to
The strategies listed below are especially helpful for students with learning
disibilities--although in fact they are also helpful for all students.
They are, in short, sound pedagogy. We recommend them to teachers
regardless of whether they know they have any students with special
needs in the class.
Work out exactly what you want the writing assignment to achieve, write
this out, and be ready to discuss it orally with the class.
Work out exactly how you will evaluate an assignment, write this out, and
be ready to discuss it orally with the class.
Work out exactly what stages the students need to follow to complete the
assignment, write those out, and be ready to discuss them orally with the
Work out how long it should take to complete the assignment, and make sure
to allow the students at least that much time. (Two weeks for a standard
college paper; at least four weeks for a paper requiring library
Write out the assignment clearly and simply and make sure that each student
has a clear copy. Typed is better than handwritten.
If you need to provide written explanations, stages, goals, etc., clearly
identify what they are using bullets, subheadings, and straightforward
Go over the assignment orally in class the day you give out the written
version, emphasizing what is required (comparison, analysis, etc.) and
explaining the goals. Be clear and direct and try to make connections
to other parts of the course and to skills students have already learned.
Offer more than one version of the assignment (each written out), allowing
a more creative approach if that is possible