Abstract: Academic writing is a mainstay of expression in secondary schools. However, many students think of academic writing in terms of local operations that include spelling, punctuation, use of third person, and so on. Teachers may expect mastery of local operations, but often they want students to navigate the terrain of the content area or discipline by integrating sources, taking up academic vocabulary, synthesizing concepts, or creating new understanding. This article describes the expectations that students in one 10th-grade class hold about their academic writing tasks as compared with that of their teachers. Length of writing tasks, features of academic register in written work, and purpose in writing assignments are explored, and recommendations are provided based on the data.