High Stakes

Some of your course goals—maybe fewer than you think--will be best met through assigning high stakes writing: writing that is revised over time and that you support through in-class activities, feedback on drafts, and low/medium-stakes assignments. If it is not only important that students learn course material through their writing, but also that they master the ability to write in a certain form or genre--to produce writing that demonstrates polished, concentrated, complex thought over time—then you will want to assign high-stakes writing to meet these learning goals.

High-stakes assignments may take the form of the traditional academic essay (thesis with supporting evidence), or of specific genres in your field: the lab report, the financial statement, etc. As you consider high-stakes assignments to meet your course goals, you may think about genre, audience, voice or style, format (including reference style), what materials students will need, what processes they might follow, etc.

- Create supporting activities for high-stakes projects

Remember--WAC wants to do away with the "one and done": a hastily-written, unrevised high-stakes project that results in minimal learning for the students and maximum frustration for us.

Therefore, the higher the stakes, the more important it is to create supportive activities and assignments so that students are able to meet your learning goals. Providing a network of support activities also enables you to raise your standards.