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How Would You Grade These AW Answers?


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A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college. 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.
 
The argument above seems plausible at first glance: since complaints and loss of revenues coincide with the increased time to national news and less time for weather and local news, it would seem that the two are related. However, thinking that this coterminal event indicates causation of the latter due to the former would be a hasty conclusion. There is much that needs to be elucidated in order to assess the validity of the proposal and more evidence is necessary.
 
To begin with, the statement "most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news" is vague and needs to be clarified. Were there more complaints than a year ago, before the change in time slot devotion? If the number of complaints has not proliferated over the past year then it would seem that to increase the amount of covergae of local news and weather would have very little benefit. More information on this is needed.
 
In addition to the number of complaints, it would help if readers were presented with information on the nature of the complaints. For example, if the complaints were regarding the way the local news and weather was covered (perhaps the meterologists' predictions were consistently wrong; perhaps the way the weather was presented was nebulous; perhaps the local news coverage was biased and racially prejudiced, showing a disproportionate number of black men being handcuffed, implying that whites didn't commit crimes) then "restor[ing] the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level" would actually be detrimental. More evidence is needed regarding the type of complaints coming in during the local news and weather coverage in order to accurately and precisely assess ways to attract more viewers.
 
Moreover, there is no information on why businesses canceled their advertising contracts. It is extremely hasty to conclude that, because the late-night news program increased the amount of time devoted to national news and decreased the time spent on weather and local news, it is the reason why businesses canceled their contracts. A plethora of reasons could account for the businesses withdrawing from their contracts, including: individual business budget cuts, notification of their ads' ineffectiveness on the particular network, an advertising deal with a larger network that has more viewers, etc. So to conclude that the late-night network's time devotion caused the businesses to cancel their contracts is to wrongly assume that correlation equaled causation.
 
In conclusion, because of these missing pieces of evidence—were there more complaints than usual, what type of complaints were received, why exactly did the businesses cancel their contracts—it is difficult to say that restoring the time devoted to weather and local news would attract more viewers and eschew any further advertizing revenue losses. More evidence and information must be provided in order to determine an appropriate, more effective course of action.
 
"Over the past year, our late night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weath and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late night news program have just canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level." Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
 
The question of school curricula is not a new one and has been permeated the minds of educators for decades. Students' educational needs are indeed important and play consequential roles not only in a student's educational career but also in their profession and in life in general. It would be beneficial for all students of a nation to study the same national curriculum because a common curriculum will make evaluation much easier and standardized tests would be more efficacious.
 
The incorporation of a standard national curriculum would certainly make student evaluation much easier because if all students are learning the same material, individual student shortcomings and places of concern would be easier to discern and address. If a nation were to adopt this strategy of a national curriculum, it would eliminate the proclivity to judge student success on an uneven level of schooling. For example, nations where students are in different educational institutions will be compared with one another and evaluated on their intelligence and preparedness for higher education and the workforce. However, these students are assessed on unequal playing fields. Students in U.S. urban schools generally have less funding, less qualified teachers, less quality textbooks, and so on, which causes them to appear less prepared and less intelligent when juxtaposed to students in, say, suburban towns that are funded more generously. This works to the detriment of poorer communities and benefits the wealthy. Installing a national curriculum would combat many of the inequities that an unequal system of education causes.
 
In addition to easier evaulation, standardized tests would be much more effective and accurate in their determination of secondary and higher education preparedness. The name itself—standardized test—indicates that a standard, i.e. a national curriculum, will be used to assess all students within a nation, regardless of their education institution. If the PSSA tests for Pennsylvania high schools or the SAT tests for college are standardized, why aren't the school curriculums standardized as well? It is known that standardized tests like the PSSA or the SAT work to the benefit of wealthier school districts because the material present on the test marks the education of richer, higher quality schooling materials—materials that are often not granted to those in poorer districts. Therefore, having a national curriculum would mean that standardized tests would simply have to test for the information the curriculum was intended to teach, giving students a more equitable and fair chance at showing their intelligence irrespective of thier economic status.
 
Consequently, some may say that a national curriculum would overlook the individual needs of students; individual students need to be taught differently than others because they may lack the mental adroitness of their peers. But this claim is unfounded. A national curriculum would actually make it easier to indicate which students are lagging behind in the expected knowledge and allow for teachers to prescribe these students extra help. If curriculums would to be more capricious from school to school, it would be more difficult to know if student A from inner city school is at the same intellectual level as student B from suburban school, because the former's curriculum may be "watered down" and therefore easier than the latter's curriculum, making it much more difficult to determine and compare the intellectal positions between the two students.
 
Overall, a national curriculum would be to students' benefit because it would make individual student evaluation easier and standardized tests would have greater accuracy. If there is a standard curriculum all students can be evaluated on a level playing field and standardized tests would be much more effective due to each student being taught the same material.
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Your GRE essay will be graded by a computer. Most people on this board don't score GRE essays for a living. Just go in and do your best. You're not going to bomb the section, at least.

Edited by asleepawake
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