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03 Oct 2012, 17:15
I have followed Chineseburned's template and tried to apply it well. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!
Prompt: The following appeared as part of an article in the education section of a Waymarsh city newspaper:
“Throughout the last two decades, those who earned graduate degrees found it very difficult to get jobs teaching their
academic specialties at the college level. Those with graduate degrees from Waymarsh University had an especially
hard time finding such jobs. But better times are coming in the next decade for all academic job seekers, including
those from Waymarsh. Demographic trends indicate thatan increasing number of people will be reaching college age
over the next 10 years; consequently, we can expect that the job market will improve dramatically for people seeking
college-level teaching positions in their fields.”
The argument states that an increasing number of college aged people over the next 10 years will improve the job market for people with graduate degrees seeking to teach their field at the college level. The argument makes this cause-and-effect statement without considering other outcomes that could occur. It also generalizes graduates of Waymarsh University to the overall population of people with graduate degrees, which may not be accurate. Furthermore, the argument's conclusion relies on several broad assumptions that are not substantiated or adequately supported. Consequently, the argument is weak and rather unconvincing.
While the article references demographic trends that may be true, it does not give any supporting evidence or statistics related to these trends that would cause the reader to fully believe the effects outlined in the argument. The argument says that the increase of college aged people will make it easier for graduates to secure jobs teaching at the college level. However, the argument does not consider other outcomes of the increase of college aged people. Colleges could have their current teachers teach additional courses to make up for the increase in students. Likewise, colleges could increase class sizes to account for more students. If the article could cite examples in which increases in college aged people was responded to with hiring new teachers, it would begin to resolve this conflict.
Second, the argument applies these overall demographic trends to the graduates of Waymarsh University without justifying doing so. Waymarsh University and its graduates may be similar to other universities and their graduates. For example, if Waymarsh is a college that typically focuses on fields that are not very popular with students, there is not likely to be much of an increase in demand for new teachers in these fields. Additionally, if Waymarsh has a lower standard of academics than its rival universities, this would place its graduates at a continuing disadvantage of securing teaching jobs. Without explaining why it is valid to generalize the effect of demographic trends on the overall population to the much smaller group of Waymarsh's graduates, the argument is weakened by these possibilities.
Finally, the argument's conclusion relies on many large assumptions. The article does not give evidence to substantiate these assumptions, and therefore, they cannot be taken as valid. For example, the argument assumes that the increase in college aged people will directly translate into more actual students. It is possible that a majority of these college aged people will not pursue a college education, eliminating the proposed need for more teachers. If the article could show that college application rates have been rising recently, it would better support its main conclusion. Additionally it is assumed that if there is an increase in college application, Waymarsh will experience this increase as will other universities. This may not be true, depending on Waymarsh's reputation, cost, and prestige. Without addressing these weaknesses, the argument is questionable and unresolved.
Ultimately, the argument is flawed for the discussed reasons and remains unconvincing. It could be strengthened if the author were to include proper examples to substantiate his assumptions or data that could support the references demographic trends. For a strong argument, it is important to consider these various factors before delivering a conclusion. In this case, these factors have not been addressed, leaving argument flawed and weakening its conclusion.