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Please evaluate my Argument essays))

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Please evaluate my Argument essays)) [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 04:39
1. The following appeared as part of a recommendation from the financial planning office to the administration of Fern Valley University:

«In the past few years, Fern Valley University has suffered from a decline in both enrollments and admissions applications. The reason can be discovered from our students, who most often cite poor teaching and inadequate library resources as their chief sources of dissatisfaction with Fern Valley. Therefore, in order to increase the number of students attending our university, and hence, to regain our position as the most prestigious university in the greater Fern Valley metropolitan area, it is necessary to initiate a fund raising campaign among the alumni that will enable us to expand the range of subjects we teach and to increase the size of library facilities.»

The recommendation given by financial planning office of the university asserts that in order to become the most prestigious university in the area, the university administration needs to expand the library facilities and broaden the list of taught subjects. In drawing this conclusion, the planning office not only fails to assess students' claim promptly, but also draws a strong conclusion based on only one of possible reasons. Furthermore, the office assumes that reputation of the university is defined by the amount of students.

Firstly, in the recommendation, the author draws a strong conclusion based on the reason discovered from students, which may or may not be the objective reason of university's failure. There might be a number of different reasons – low employment rate of the university's alumni, launch of another university in the area with similar subjects, decline of quality of education in the university and weak performance of the students on the science scene. Since the office addresses to only one possible and not the most reliable reason and does not consider more informative statistics, the recommended plan of regaining the leading position may not work out.

Secondly, the office deciphers the students' claims of poor teaching and inadequate library resources as insufficient range of subjects taught in the university and lack of space in the library. Meanwhile, these concerns might refer to the quality of the university teachers, the content of courses and the lack of professional literature in the library. Instead, the office assumes that more subjects or more facilities will solve the problem, although it fails to consider any education quality issues.

Finally, the office assumes that the prestige of a university is defined with an amount of attending students. This is a very petty approach, which neglects other factors like the professionalism of professors in that university, contribution to new discoveries or patents made by students, the demand for the university's alumni among employers. The most prestigious universities of the world – Oxford, Stanford, Harvard - open their doors only to the smartest, diligent and opportunistic applicants, leaving others behind the walls.

In conclusion, to make this argument sound more convincing it would be useful to contemplate the wider range of reasons of university's failure, focusing on more reliable data, or at least to better understand the complains of students . The recommendation also would be strengthened if the author were to concede that the reputation of a university relies on quality rather than on quantity of students.

2. The following appeared in an article in a college department newsletter:

«Professor Teylor of Jones University is promoting a model of foreign language instruction in which students receive 10 weeks of intense training, then go abroad to live with families for 10 weeks. The superiority of the model, Professor Teylor contends, is proved by the results of a study in which foreign language tests given to students at 25 other colleges show that first year foreign language students at Jones speak more fluently after only 10 to 20 weeks in the program, than do nine out of 10 foreign language majors elsewhere at the time of their graduation.»

The article concedes that Professor Teylor proved his theory to be effective based on a study that compares the fluency of foreign-language students in different colleges. In drawing his conclusion, Professor Teylor fails to give any details of the study, which could help to evaluate the argument as a sound one. It is not revealed whether the students participated in the study were engaged in the same language and how long did the study take. Moreover, he puts on the table some awkward comparison of fluency of first year students with that of graduates.

Firstly, the author fails to indicate whether the study assessed the fluency of one-language students or different. In the last case it brings the significant discrepancy in measurement criteria, which should take into account the vicinity of the native language of a student to his foreign language or the phonetical difficulty of a studied foreign language . For instance, for an English speaker the languages evolved from Latin are easier to comprehend rather than Chinese, so it would be inappropriate to measure the achievements in gained in completely diverse languages by one standard.

Secondly, the article does not reflect the terms for which the study was conducted. Whether it took one year or five years? The lack of this information, and ensued from that statistics, obviates the estimation of value of this study.

Finally, Professor Tyler does not specify whether graduates from other 25 colleges were required to excel in foreign language fluency. What alternative could be possible is that their courses could be more focused on ethimology, grammar, literature of a foreign language. Therefore there are not enough similarities between freshmen and graduates to draw the conclusion made by author.

To strengthen this argument it would be valuable to give more details about languages compared in this study and more clear information about the time period which the study took. What would also bring this argument to the drawn conclusion is the evidence that confirms that compared groups of students in different colleges have similar course which includes verbal fluency.

PS: I will be happy to find an online teacher for 3 weeks :))
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Re: Please evaluate my Argument essays)) [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 07:53
Just thought I would mention that you can get essays graded at The gmat website by the same algorithm that grades your exam on test day.

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GMAT Answers is an adaptive learning platform that will help you understand exactly what you need to do to get the score that you want.

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Re: Please evaluate my Argument essays)) [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2013, 11:41

I am responding to your first essay. I think your reasoning is very strong and you are hitting the main problems with the argument. However, your phrasing is often problematic and there are spots where you need to explain your ideas more fully. More specifically:

1. In the intro I would clarify that the context for the argument is the decline in applications and enrollments: In order to curb declining applications and enrollments and become the most prestigious university in the area, the financial planning office recommends.... Instead of "promptly," I think you mean "properly". For last sentence, I would suggest " the number of students enrolled."

2. Need article "the" in first sentence of second paragraph: "the university's failure." Instead of failure, clarify you are referring to the decline in applications and student enrollment. In this paragraph, I would clarify that the problem is not just that the university is only considering one reason (it actually considers two), but that it is drawing information for conclusion from only one source: students who actually attended university, who can't necessarily account for reasons of potential students who never applied and/or enrolled.

3. Your topic sentence in the third paragraph is not accurately representing the students' position or argument. The argument presents two reasons for the decline and problematically interprets one of the reasons: poor teaching is misinterpreted as insufficient range of subjects. Do not address the library in this paragraph and keep your focus on how the solution does not address the problem of poor teaching.

4. Change phrasing of topic sentence: " the quantity of students enrolled" (proper idiom is "defined by"). "Opportunistic" is an awkward word choice and there is a problem with a lack of parallelism in that sentence (most digent and opportunistic would be better but still not great). You need a concluding sentence that brings sentences about Harvard/Oxford etc. into better connection with topic sentence/problem in argument's reasoning. E.g. "In other words, the prestige of a university is better assessed by the number of applicants denied admission rather than the number of students attending. (still, this is only one aspect of prestige).

5. Change phrasing in topic sentence: "...wide range of reasons FOR the decline in applications and enrollments at the university."

Overall, your reasoning and essay structure is very good.

Good luck!

Susan Feldman, Ph.D.
GMAT AWA & Verbal Tutor
Admission Essay Coach
Peak Performance Test Prep

Re: Please evaluate my Argument essays))   [#permalink] 20 Jan 2013, 11:41
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