GRE Argument Essay 32
The Department of Education in the state of Attra recommends that high school students be assigned homework every day. Yet a recent statewide survey of high school math and science teachers calls the usefulness of daily homework into question. In the district of Sanlee, 86 percent of the teachers reported assigning homework three to five times a week, whereas in the district of Marlee, less than 25 percent of the teachers reported assigning homework three to five times a week. Yet the students in Marlee earn better grades overall and are less likely to be required to repeat a year of school than are the students in Sanlee. Therefore, all teachers in our high schools should assign homework no more than twice a week, if at all.
The given argument brings out that the Department of Education in the state of Attra has recommended that high school students should be assigned homework every day. The arguer then proceeds to contradict this recommendation by comparing the statistics arrived at by carrying out a statewide survey of high school math and science teachers. 86 percent of the teachers in the district of Sanlee admitted to assigning homework three to five times in a week; whereas less than 25 percent of teachers in the district of Marlee admitted to assigning homework three to five times in a week. Despite the lesser amount of homework, the students in Marlee score better grades than the students in Sanlee. Using these facts, the arguer contends that the high school teachers in the state of Attra should not assign homework to the students more than two times a week. A careful examination of the given evidence highlights that the argument is largely unsubstantiated and is rendered weak due to the presence of unconvincing evidence in its support.
The backbone of the argument is the fact that the students in Marlee are earning better grades than the students in Sanlee. This better performance can be attributed to various factors. It might turn out that the homework assignments actually play an important role in helping the students to get good grades. The arguer has not provided any additional evidence that proves that homework is actually of no use when it comes to scoring high in the exams.
It is quite likely that the teaching standards in the high schools of Marlee are far better than those of Sanlee. Therefore, the students of Marlee are better prepared for their exams than their counterparts in Sanlee. Moreover, there is no mention of the grading system that is effective in the high schools of Sanlee and Marlee. If the grading system is common throughout the entire state, then the grades of the students studying in the two districts can be compared or else one cannot compare the grades awarded by different high schools. It is likely that the marking scheme in Sanlee is tougher than that in Marlee and therefore, the students in Marlee get higher grades as compared to the students in Sanlee. Moreover, the subjects in which the students in Marlee are doing well have not been mentioned. It is quite likely that the high grades are in subjects other than math and science and the students are being given homework assignments regularly in those subjects. Hence, the performance of the students in Marlee cannot be compared to that of the students in Sanlee and therefore, relating the homework assigned to these students to their performance in exams is not justified.
The statistics of the survey are questionable in their usage as valid evidence in support of the claim made. This is because the arguer does not mention the cross-section of teachers who were a part of the survey. There is no indication whether the teachers who formed a part of the survey were equally distributed among all the high schools of Attra or whether they were from selected districts. If the survey did not contain a representation from the entire state, then the results of the survey cannot be used to change the homework related policies for all the high schools in the entire state. Moreover, the arguer clearly states that the survey was carried out among math and science teachers. Therefore, the statistics of the survey cannot be applied for assigning homework in all subjects taught in high school as it may be necessary to give homework assignments daily in some of the subjects.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the given argument fails to establish a relation between assigning homework and the performance of students in their exams. Therefore, the claim that homework should not be assigned to the students in Attra, more than two times a week, could not be justified due to lack of adequate evidence in its support.