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# First AWA. How'd I do? Please Rate : )

Author Message
Intern
Joined: 15 Sep 2018
Posts: 1

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30 Sep 2018, 15:34
Hey there, I'm in week two of my study plan, and I just took my first try at an AWA essay. I replicated the exam conditions by using a 30-minute timer, and turning off autocorrect on MS Word. I feel pretty good about it, but I would love to get some feedback on how you'd rate it (0-6) and the flaws that kept it from a great score. Thanks in advance for the help! <i class="em em-v"></i>

Prompt
"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.

My Essay

The argument states that Terra Nova High school began using interactive computer instruction in just three subjects; and subsequently, the school observed that dropout rates improved and graduates went on to successful, academic careers in college. The editorial then draws the conclusion that the school board should earmark a portion of the future budget to buy more computers. Similarly, the author argues that schools throughout the district should adopt this technological approach to teaching in their curriculums. Unfortunately, the argument makes an untenable case, implying that correlation suggests causation in the case of improved achievement following the use of computers within school coursework. The logic in this statement can be countered by an assessment of the subjects taught, a look at additional evidence regarding other changes in curriculum that occurred at this time, and a careful study of the cohort of students in the last few years.

The author begins by demonstrating the evidence that computer instruction was offered in merely three subjects. At first glance, this seems to have an untenable relationship to the systematic success that the author suggests. For example, we would need to know in what subjects these courses were offered. If the courses offered covered superficial subjects that are unlikely to have an impact on students' learning (such as digital photography, music composition, and computer aided design), the relationship to the students' future success is unlikely. Furthermore, the author assumes that the dropout rate implies that students are more engaged, and therefore, more successful. Perhaps the nature of allowing students to leverage a more engaging medium ensured they were less likely to de-engage from school. That wouldn't necessitate their future success though.

The argument is undermined by the lack of evidence suggesting that nothing else changed relating to the school's curriculum during this time. For example, if the school had recently hired teachers that were incredibly well-trained and capable, it's likely that the dropout rate and future academic achievement could just as easily be tied to the qualifications of the teachers and the effect they had on their students' learning. Many factors could have contributed to the students' success, including tutoring programs or afterschool programs that support the students' learning outside of their classrooms, connecting their learning to seemingly real world events and grounding them in the impact that learning will have on their future lives.

Additionally, since the positive results that the author cites have only been observed within the last year (following implementation a mere two years ago of the interactive computer instruction), it could be the case that a cohort of stronger-performing students is the cause for the advantageous performance that the editorial points to. For example, a cohort of juniors could have been introduced to the new teaching methodology in their third year, but it's possible that they were effected by other learning approaches, embedded earlier in their high school careers by teachers or staff. It is entirely possible that this strong cohort of juniors went on to succeed, and future cohorts of students might see lower dropout rates and less academic excellence. Furthermore, the author doesn't state how many students were impacted. As a result, the effects could be less far-reaching than the editorial implies.

While the new computer instruction might be having some positive impacts on the students at Nova High School, other learning modalities could easily be at play that are impacting performance. The argument strikes a case for causation that is unfounded and unsupported by the evidence offered.
Manager
Joined: 23 Nov 2017
Posts: 118
Location: Singapore
Concentration: Strategy, Other
GMAT 1: 660 Q49 V33

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30 Sep 2018, 18:36
Hi mate,

Awesome effort !! you may just want to insert some transitional verbs and markers such as first, second, in sum or in conclusion for the e-reader to pick up the flow of your essay...I reckon that helps.

All the best !
Re: First AWA. How'd I do? Please Rate : ) &nbs [#permalink] 30 Sep 2018, 18:36
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