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Ekaterina Savchenko

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  1. SuperCorp recently moved its headquarters to Corporateville. The recent surge in the number of homeowners in Corporateville proves that Corporateville is a superior place to live than Middlesburg, the home of SuperCorp's original headquarters. Moreover, Middlesburg is a predominately urban area and according to an employee survey, SuperCorp has determined that its workers prefer to live in an area that is not urban. Finally, Corporateville has lower taxes than Middlesburg, making it not only a safer place to work but also a cheaper one. Therefore, Supercorp clearly made the best decision. Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted. The following argument is flawed for numerous reasons. Primarily, the argument is based on the unwarranted assumption that the fact that the increase in the number of homeowners in Corporateville gives some advantages compared to the home of SuperCorp's original headquarters. However, the argument fails to provide any justifications for that. Even if the number of homeowners in a new headquarter's location is advantageous in some way, we cannot be sure that the same increase has not happened in the Middlesburg as well. Moreover, the argument also leaves many other unwarranted questions. According to the passage, SuperCorp conducted an employee survey and found out that the workers prefer to live in an area that is not urban. However, the argument does not provide any proof that the survey was representative enough. We do not know the percentage of the survey's applicants to all employees, methodology of the survey or other important details about the questionnaire. For that reason we cannot made the conclusion that the headquarters should be moved in the first place. But even if the survey was conducted adequately, all we know from the argument is that the Middlesburg is a predominately urban area while there is no information about the bucolic nature of Corporateville so we cannot be sure that it is the best place for a new SuperCorp's headquarters. Finally, the argument mentions that Corporateville has lower taxes than Middlesburg which make the latter safe and cheap place to work. But this conclusion is hard to support. First, the level of taxes as well as other arguments from the passage seem to have no bearing on the safety of the living place that is why we cannot made such a conclusion. Second, the argument says about the level of taxes without clarifying the type of these taxes. There is chance that individual taxes are indeed lower than in previous location but the taxes for business are in contrary higher or vice versa which makes the whole idea of the cheapness of new place for headquarters unproved. To conclude, because the argument makes several unwarranted assumptions, it fails to make a convincing case that Supercorp made the best decision when moved its headquarters to Corporateville.
  2. Teachers' salaries should be based on the academic performance of their students. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position. Students’ academic performance should not have a direct impact on their teachers’ remuneration. Trying to create a competitive environment, some school and university managers going as far as to make teachers’ salaries based on the students’ scores. According to this logic, if the entire class would get excellent scores it gives the teacher the highest salary. However, the logic is likely to distort the teacher’s motivation and, consequently, entails deterioration of the entire education system. Instead of teaching students critical and independent thinking or spending time on working both with fast-learners and slow-learners on their pace, the teacher would show students how to obtain the highest possible results on the exam. This was the case in China. For the long period of time, academic performance of the school and university students was the main base for calculating the teachers’ remuneration which made teachers force students to memorize as much information as possible in order to obtain the highest test scores. However, from a long-term perspective, such remuneration policy made Chinese graduates responsible and disciplined but not creative workers. Even now Chinese companies prefer to hire for innovation-driven jobs those employees who studied abroad. Therefore, the idea to calculate teachers’ salaries according to their pupils’ performance on exams could negatively affect the teachers’ incentives and effectiveness of the education system. Although in contemporary society many people think that teachers’ salaries should depend on the academic performance of their students these people cannot deny that the evaluation system itself is imperfect. For that reason, the idea to connect teachers’ salaries with academic performance seems unfair. Indeed, there are such subjects as math or physics which can be adequately evaluated by tests with multiple choice because, for example, a math problem has the only correct answer. But what about other subjects like literature or art which are very subjective and controversial? The whole idea of studying such disciplines is to help students think critically, look for different opinions and formulate their own opinion which can be different from the teacher’s point of view. To create a test for such disciplines is very complicated but we cannot be sure that the test results showed the real knowledge of the students since there is no correct answer in this case. If one student thinks that the best book written by Franz Kafka is «The Trial» while the other highlights «The Metamorphosis» and both can convincingly prove their point, how can we estimate the answers fairly? Because of this subjectivity, it seems unreasonable to make the student’ scores the main base for the calculation of the teachers’ salaries. On the other hand, the direct relationships between teachers' salaries and the academic performance of their students might seem useful in some cases. Indeed, students’ scores rankings are convenient way compare the work results of different teachers and motivate them financially to improve the results in future. Maybe for that reason, this remuneration policy is quite popular among school and university managers. Following this look at the advantages and drawbacks of the link between teachers’ remuneration and their students’ scores, we can say that direct impact of the students' exam results on the teacher’s earning can bring more harm than good.
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