What lecturers want in your assignments

Lecturers/tutors set different kinds of assignments as part of your course to check what you think, know, understand and/or can do as a result of completing a section of the work or course. As well as understanding what you have to do to complete an assignment, it’s important that you know what the lecturers/tutor is looking for or testing.

Learning outcomes

Statements of what you are expected to know, understand and/or do on completion of a specific piece of work, are called learning outcomes. They help to explain:

  • What's expected of you and what you need to know
  • What will be assessed and how it will be assessed
  • The importance/value of the different sections of the contents and of the different assignments
  • How to approach your studies/assignments.

Look for the learning outcomes in your course material. If you’re not sure what the learning outcomes are, ask your lecturer/tutor.

What lecturers and tutors look for

When assignments are graded/marked, you'll be assessed on the content (i.e. your answer), the writing, structure and presentation, and the referencing. Lecturers will also look at the following:

  • If you used academic English. Note: txt language, slang or bad language is unacceptable in assignments, forums or in emails to lecturers/tutors.
  • If the writing is concise, clear and correct.
  • Did the assignment read well, i.e. did it flow?
  • If the assignment was divided into well-structured paragraphs, with a new paragraph for each new topic.
  • Were full sentences, with correct punctuation used?
  • The formatting, structure and layout correct.
  • That you used abbreviations and acronyms correctly. Try not to use them unless they are recognised, i.e. found in a good dictionary. Write all acronyms in full the first time you use them and include the acronym in brackets, e.g. Industry Training Organisation (ITO). After that you can use ITO.


Different subjects have different conventions for written work, and different lecturers/tutors may expect different things of their students. So when you are getting ready to do your assignment check your course material to find out what you need to do.

If you’re still not sure contact your lecturer/tutor.

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