I teach at a private high school, and nearly all of my students are college bound. I've noticed that many of my students have a hard time reading directions for assignments or looking at resources they have been given in order to answer questions they have. In fact, I've noticed that one of thing biggest differences between my honors students and my grade level students is that the honors students look at assignment requirements and follow them. At first, I thought students just didn't pay attention, so I tried giving them quizzes over handouts or notes. For example, I gave students a handout that covered basics of MLA format. These are high school juniors who have been learning about MLA format for at least two years. One side of the handout has information and the other had a sample example. We covered it briefly in class, then the next day I gave them a quiz over it. I explained to them that the goal of the quiz was to test their ability to consult resources for information, and this handout was the resource. I expected all of the students to get 100%, but several of them got below a 75%. I asked simple questions like, "What should the margins on your paper be?"... One of the bulleted points on the handout was "Margins should be 1 inch on the top, bottom, left, and right." One question was a little bit tricky; it asked, "What does your title page need?"... The handout had a bullet point that said, "You don't need a title page." But that was the hardest question on the whole quiz. The next day, students pulled up their papers on the computer and were supposed to format the paper in MLA format, with the header, title information, paper title, margins, 12 point font, etc. even the students who did well on the quiz still did things like make the title bold, put the date in the incorrect format, or put their first name instead of their last name in the header. My students do this with other assignments too. We did an assignment last week, and the handout began with "This assignment has three parts" and went on to list and explain them. They had time to work on it in class for 2.5 days. At the beginning and end of each classes I said, "All three parts of this assignment are due Thursday!" ...Thursday came, and I still had students shocked that the assignment had three parts and they only did one or two of the parts of the assignment. Part of me is just frustrated because I feel like they would do better if they just paid attention to detail and listened to instructions. I don't want to micromanage a 17 year old. On the other hand, I feel like I have a serious problem with students' reading comprehension, since some of my students genuinely struggled with the quiz over MLA format and applying it to their papers. I also wonder if classroom management may be part of it. When I go over things, students are quiet and I speak loudly and clearly and write things down, but I don't actively prompt kids to make sure they aren't staring off into space not listening to anything. Sorry that this turned into a rant. But honestly, Does anyone have any suggestions for teaching this skill or correcting this behavior?