GRE Argument Essay 142
The following appeared in a report by the School District of Eyleria.
“Nationally, the average ratio of computers to students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) is 1:5. Educators indicate that this is very good ratio. This means that across the country, all students have access to and can use computers daily in their classrooms. In Eyleria’s K-12 schools, the ratio of computers to students is 1:7. This number is sufficient to ensure that all of Eyleria’s students, by the time they graduate from high school, will be fully proficient in the use of computer technology. Thus, there is no reason to spend any of the schools’ budgets on computers or other technology in the next few years.”
The argument makes the recommendation that there is no requirement of spending the schools’ budgets on computers or on any other technology as the ratio of computers to students in the schools of Eyleria is 1:7. The arguer contends that this ratio is sufficient since the national average is 1:5 and the educationists say that this is a very good ratio as it indicates that all students across the country have access to computers on a daily basis. Furthermore, the arguer asserts that the ratio of 1:7 will ensure that all students will be proficient in computer technology by the time they graduate from high school. In several respects, however, the evidence that has been presented lends little credible support for the argument.
Firstly, the arguer ignores the fact that the national average ratio of computers to students does not indicate that all students across the nation have access to computers daily. The average ratio of 1:5 means that there might be some schools in which this ratio is lesser than or more than 1:5. In other words, there may be schools in which this ratio is as high as 1:1 or 1:2 which would be an ideal situation. On the other hand, there may be schools in which there are no computers at all. It is not necessary that all students get uninterrupted individual access to a computer. The ratio of 1:5 means that there are 5 students per computer. Therefore, it is unlikely that each student will be able to get an individual computer for hands-on practice. Therefore, the assumption that all students across the nation get easy access to computers daily, stands on shaky ground.
Secondly, if the classification of the national average ratio of 1:5 is questionable in itself, then claiming the ratio of 1:7 to be sufficient on the basis of the national average is far fetched. Simply providing computers to students does not ensure that they are being well-trained to handle computers. If there are 7 students per computer, it is highly unlikely that every student will get sufficient time to spend on a computer for him to be computer proficient. This is because either all 7 students would be sitting on the computer at the same time or else the time slot allocated for practicing on the computer would be divided by seven so that each student gets the computer to himself. This slot would then be one-seventh of the time laid down as per the course curriculum for computer practice. How can then the arguer assume that the ratio of 1:7 would be sufficient to ensure that all students would be computer proficient by the time they graduate from high school?
Thirdly, even if one assumes that the ratio of 1:7 is sufficient, there is no denying the fact that a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 is the ideal ratio when it comes to providing quality computer education in high schools. The national ratio of 1:5 indicates that there are schools that have a better ratio. Moreover, if one takes the rural areas into account where the schools probably have no computers, then there must be a large number of schools that have a computer to student ratio of 1:2 or closer in order to bring the national average to 1:5. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that most of the good schools across the nation have a much lesser number of students per computer as otherwise indicated by the ratio of 1:5.
Lastly, with the passage of time, technology is bound to change and there will always be a requirement of upgrading the computers and software installed to the latest versions so that the students are trained with respect to the latest technology in the market. This would call for a reasonable expenditure from the schools’ budgets on technology. Moreover, reducing the number of students per computer is a strong reason for spending the schools’ budgets on computers. This is the only way that the students can be trained to be proficient in computers by the time they graduate from high school. Hence, in view of the above, it is evident that the recommendation made by the arguer is extremely flawed as it fails to convince the reader that there is no compelling reason for spending any of the schools’ budgets on computers or technology.