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     Home >>GMAT >>Essays>>Essay - 14


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    The following appeared as part of a newspaper editorial.

        “Two years ago Nova High School began to use interactive computer instruction in three academic subjects. The school dropout rate declined immediately, and last year’s graduates have reported some impressive achievements in college. In future budgets the school board should use a greater portion of the available funds to buy more computers, and all schools in the district should adopt interactive computer instruction throughout the curriculum.”

    Discuss how well reasoned... etc.

    Sample essay 1:

        The argument that the school board should buy more computers and adopt interactive computer instruction is not entirely logically convincing, since it ignores certain crucial assumptions. First, the argument assumes that the decline of school dropout and the achievements of last year’s graduates’ results from the adoption of interactive computer instruction. However, there are several reasons why this might not be true. For example, achievements could have been made in other subjects than the ones with interactive computer instruction. Or last years’ graduates might not have been given the interactive computer instruction. Or the decline of the rate of dropout could be attributed to stricter discipline applied last year.

        Second, even supposing the Nova High School’s decline of the dropout and last year’s graduates’ achievements benefit directly from the usage of interactive computer instruction, the success of the instruction in one school may not ensure the success in other schools. If it does not suit other schools, the instruction will not work. Finally, even if the decline of the rate of dropout and the achievements of the last year’s graduates’ are the direct results of the interactive computer instruction, we still do not know whether the school can afford to apply the instruction on all the subjects or to all the students. If the school does not have sufficient fund and has to cut budgets on other projects such as the library, the quality of the school’s education will also compromise.

        Thus, the argument is not completely sound. The evidence in support of the conclusion that the dropout rate declined and last year’s graduates made impressive achievements does little to prove the conclusion that other schools should use a greater portion of their funds to apply the instruction since it does not address the assumptions I have already raised. Ultimately, the argument might have been strengthened by making it clear that the decline of the dropout rate and the achievements of the graduates are the direct results of interactive computer instruction, that the instruction is also applicable to other schools in the district, and that the instruction is affordable to all the schools in the district.

    Sample essay 2:

        The editorial recommends that the school board of Nova High spend a greater portion of available funds on the purchase of additional computers and adopt interactive computer instruction throughout the curriculum. Two reasons are offered in support of this recommendation. First, the introduction of interactive computer instruction in three academic subjects was immediately followed by a decline in the school dropout rate. Second, last year’s graduates experienced impressive achievements in college. This argument is unconvincing for two reasons.

        To begin with, this argument is a classic instance of “after this, therefore because of this” reasoning. The mere fact that the introduction of interactive computer instruction preceded the impressive performance of recent graduates and the decline in the dropout rate is insufficient to conclude that it was the cause of these events. Many other factors could bring about these same results.

        For example, the school may have implemented counseling and training programs that better meet the needs of students who might otherwise leave school to take jobs. In addition, the school may have introduced programs to better prepare students for college. Secondly, the author assumes that the impressive achievements of last year’s graduates bear some relation to the introduction of interactive computer instruction at Nova High. However, no evidence is offered to support this assumption. Lacking evidence that links the achievements of the recent graduates to the interactive instruction, it is presumptuous to suggest that the computer instruction was in some way responsible for the students’ impressive performance.

        In conclusion, the recommendation that Nova High spend a greater portion of available funds on the purchase of additional computers and adopt interactive computer instruction throughout the curriculum is ill-founded. To strengthen this recommendation the author would have to demonstrate that the decline in the dropout rate and the impressive performance of recent graduates came about as a result of the use of computer-interactive instruction. All that has been shown so far is a correlation between these events.








     


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