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Office of University Writing

Office of The Provost


Office of University Writing

Office of The Provost


Scaffolding refers to the ways that instructors provide structures to help students achieve learning goals that they could not accomplish on their own. The complex writing objectives that we want students to accomplish require them to develop new skills prior to the start of the final assignment. The learning goals and objectives must be broken down into smaller parts in order to help guide students from where they are in the beginning to where we want them to be at the end of the assignment, unit, or even overall course.

How do I scaffold a writing assignment?

  1. Determine the learning goals – What writing tasks do you want your students to accomplish? Establish what the students should be able to do at the end of the unit.
  2. Assess student knowledge – Your students’ prior knowledge will serve as a starting point for breaking the learning goals into smaller parts.
  3. Establish a sequence – Plan a schedule that leads to the final writing task that utilizes all of the objectives accomplished throughout the sequence.
  4. Establish an intervention – For example, ask questions, break into smaller steps, work with others, provide examples, model the behavior, and activate prior knowledge.

What are some resources for scaffolding my assignments?

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