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Hi! I came here after recommendation from Magoosh. I would like someone to score my essays for GRE Argument Analysis Task and Comment if he/she has time. The data from a survey of high school math and science teachers show that in the district of Sanlee many of these teachers reported assigning daily homework, whereas in the district of Marlee, most science and math teachers reported assigning homework no more than two or three days per week. Despite receiving less frequent homework assignments, Marlee students earn better grades overall and are less likely to be required to repeat a year of school than are students in Sanlee. These results call into question the usefulness of frequent homework assignments. Most likely the Marlee students have more time to concentrate on individual assignments than do the Sanlee students who have homework every day. Therefore teachers in our high schools should assign homework no more than twice a week. Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument. _________________________________________________________________________________________ My response is: The author cites a survey in which high school students of two districts are compared. According to the survey, students in the district of Marley perform better in Science and Math as compared to those of Sanlee, the reason being lesser homework assignments. So, the author concludes that all high schools should assign homework no more than twice a week. A closer look would reveal that the conclusion to this argument is unconvincing due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the argument does not contain any detailed information about the survey, which raises some questions: how many schools from both districts took part in the survey? Was the number of students taking part in the survey from each school was same? Without addressing these questions, the credibility of this survey is questionable. Secondly, the argument suffers from this unjustified assumption that earning better grades indicates the academic performance of a student. Admittedly, if a student earns good grades, he is performing well. However, there are a number of other factors that should be considered while comparing the school(s) from the two districts: the grading system, competition among students, level of difficulty of exams. Therefore, to judge the academic performance of students by good grades, other parameters should be kept same. Even if other parameters are kept same, comparison of students between two geographically remote areas is not fair. For example, it is possible that students at Marlee are sharper because they have used iodized salt in their diets; perhaps, they have got better elementary education; it maybe that students at Sanlee struggle with their grades because they have to commute a long distance to school; teaching methods can also vary. Finally, the author’s conclusion that all high schools should follow in the footsteps of Marlee and assign homework no more than two times a week, is also flawed. First, the survey is about high school math and science teachers, this certainly does not apply to other subjects such as humanities. Second, Marlee and Sanlee are just two districts and to generalize their results to all the high school in the country is an over-generalization. In sum, the author’s argument is unconvincing. To better assess the argument, the reader would need to know about the accuracy of the survey and whether the sample size is large enough to generalize to results. The author can make the argument more compelling by specifying the number of students of schools, ensuring whether grades really are a comparing parameter in judging students performance and citing a survey where sample size is large enough to generalize the results.
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