GRE Analytical Writing Analyse an Argument Task Timed Screencast - Videos

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Attempted Question: According to a recent report, cheating among college and university students is on the rise. However, Groveton College has successfully …

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  1. Do learn from my mistakes and whatever's good. Spot them and spot the good as well.
    Attempted Question:

    Question pool here: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument/pool

    According to a recent report, cheating among college and university students is on the rise. However, Groveton College has successfully reduced student cheating by adopting an honor code, which calls for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated. Groveton's honor code replaced a system in which teachers closely monitored students; under that system, teachers reported an average of thirty cases of cheating per year. In the first year the honor code was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey, a majority of Groveton students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without. Thus, all colleges and universities should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton's in order to decrease cheating among students.

    Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

    Attempted Answer:

    According to a recent report, cheating among college and university students is on the rise. However, Groveton College has successfully reduced student cheating by adopting an honor code, which calls for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated. Groveton's honor code replaced a system in which teachers closely monitored students; under that system, teachers reported an average of thirty cases of cheating per year. In the first year the honor code was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey, a majority of Groveton students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without. Thus, all colleges and universities should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton's in order to decrease cheating among students.

    Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

    The recommendation in question is that universities should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton College to decrease cheating. The rationale for doing so is because of empirical evidence that the number of cheating cases caught by teachers have dropped over the years and that in a recent survey, most of Groveton's college students said they would be more likely to cheat without an honour code. To evaluate the reasonableness of this argument, one must first assess its assumptions.

    The first assumption that must be examined is whether the data collected is reflective of the entire student body's attitudes towards cheating. The survey which is most likely a straw poll would not be representative of the entire student population. Moreover, students who are actually cheating may not admit that they would be more likely to cheat on their surveys to avoid getting caught. This may in fact, cause the data to misrepresent the actual student attitudes towards cheating. Moreover, though the number of cheating cases being caught by teachers have dropped over the years, this data may have been caused by other reasons. For example, students who have been cheating could in fact learn how to avoid getting caught in the exams, thus the number of students being caught cheating could have fallen not because there are less cheating cases, but because students have become more adept at avoiding punishment and getting caught by teachers. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that the close monitoring of students by teachers has dropped considerably. Furthermore, the only real kind of reporting happens when students report on each other. This may not happen because students may collaborate and discuss beforehand not to tell on each other so as to avoid getting caught and to help perpetuate the lenient security measures conducive for cheating. Thus, the questions that must be answered include whether the teachers and reporting system in general are really effective at catching students cheating or preventing cheating so that we know if the low numbers of reported cheating cases reflect low numbers of actual cheating cases. As for the survey, it must be known if the students were completely honest in that survey and if the survey actually represents the attitudes of the entire student population. Only then can we determine if our data is accurate and thus our argument can be reasonable.

    Moreover, the gap in data is quite apparent in that data for reduction in cheating was taken in the interval of five years. At the start of this term, 21 students were caught, and at the end, 14 were caught. As to what had happened during the five years, nobody knows. Hence, we must ascertain the cases of cheating within those five years and know whether those numbers are reliable as evidence of Groveton's honor code effectiveness or lack thereof.

    Assuming the honor code wasn't really that effective, which might be the case given that the stringency of monitoring has dropped considerably, then one might argue that the policy of adopting an honor code at Groveton's is not really successful afterall. So most universities should not adopt this honor code system.

    Assuming that Groveton's students were, in the unlikely case, extremely honest and of completely sound character, or that for some other reason the number of actual cheating cases has dropped, then we must still know if Groveton's strategy would be applicable to other universities. The implicit assumption that the same success formula at one university works for all universities must be questioned. To know that, we must know what motivates students to cheat or what factors cause an increased number of cheating occurences at Groveton and other Universities. For example, the motivation and culture of cheating in western countries may differ from Asian countries. One professor in Japan reportedly hanged himself because the student he supervised committed doctoring of results, this generally would not happen in western countries. Hence, cheating may be taken much more seriously in Japan than in the USA because of the culture of shame in Japan. Thus, Japanese students and faculty members may be more likely to respect the honor code as compared to other countries. Hence, a solution that failed in US Universities may fail in Japan. This example illustrates that we must know the root causes and cultural background of cheating of whichever university is under investigation. If the root causes of cheating for Groveton and other Universities are largely similar, then a success formula at Groveton might work at other Universities.

    Conversely, assuming Groveton's students were cheating more than before the implementation of the honor code. The same cause for failures in Groveton may not be applicable elsewhere. Hence, the investigation of root causes and cultures of cheating must be carried out and the questions of root causes addressed so that we may know the efficacy of such a solution. It then follows that we must also investigate if the solution being carried out, the implementation of the honor code in this case, actually addresses the root causes found out in such a way as to reduce the number of cheating cases. This study of the honor code's efficacy at addressing root causes is not only to be carried out at Groveton's, but at other colleges as well so as to ascertain the effects of the proposed implementation of the honor code.

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