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GRE ScoreItNow Grade 4 Argument

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Hi! So this Analyze an Argument essay has been graded as 4.0 by the ETS ScoreItNow software. The software does provide you with a grade and very facile revision tools, but hardly any explanation. How could this essay be improved? Thanks!!


The following appeared in an e-mail sent by the marketing director of the Classical Shakespeare Theatre of Bardville.

"Over the past ten years, there has been a 20 percent decline in the size of the average audience at Classical Shakespeare Theatre productions. In spite of increased advertising, we are attracting fewer and fewer people to our shows, causing our profits to decrease significantly. We must take action to attract new audience members. The best way to do so is by instituting a 'Shakespeare in the Park' program this summer. Two years ago the nearby Avon Repertory Company started a 'Free Plays in the Park' program, and its profits have increased 10 percent since then. Therefore, I recommend that we start a 'Shakespeare in the Park' program of our own. If we do so, I predict that our profits will also see a significant increase."

The proponent of this argument could be said to rightly assume that swift action should be taken to change the course of events, however both his account of the problem and his proposal are flawed with inaccuracies that could be best classified as a lack of panoramic view on the larger issues that could be at play behind the decreased attendance, and the need of a more critical stand as regards the Avon company initiative being imitated.


First, his summary of the decrease in attendance is utterly facile. The twenty percent decline could imply either a significant decrease, or an infinitesimal change, since percentages are far from being absolute values. Similarly, the author cites a supposed paradox where greater spending in advertising does not imply greater attendance, although this effect could be linked to a misled marketing campaign or a limited increased of advertising from none to a token amount. Furthermore, the decrease in revenues could be linked to attendance dropping, but also to other phenomena such as "sneaking in" or a majority of spectators only buying the cheapest of entries available. We could go as far as considering whether a overall decreasing demography could be here reflected, in which case little change could be expected at all.


The author does draw an feeble parallelims with the Avon company and its "Free Plays in the Park" but fails to ackwnowledge the underlying difference between both companies: the range of authors represented by Avon could be much broader than that of Shakespeare Theatre, and therefore attract more public. Should this hold true, the proposed answer would be deemed ineffective. Similarly, diachronic and spatial concerns should be raised, as a two-year time window could be wide enough for relevant changes to have occurred that would make "Shakespeare in the Park" unsuccessful even if "Free Plays in the park" was a full-house every day. Again, the author does use a percentage, but does not reveal the extent of that 10% increase in revenues for Avon, which could be consider a minimal amount if compared to Shakespeare. Even more, the comparison drawn between both companies could be subjected to much scrutiny since we lack any veritable information about the quality of both companies: should Shakespeare Theatre be of a much poorer quality, the success experience by Avon is likely not to occur again.


In conclusion, we could diagnose this argument as being essentially flawed both in the supericial analysis of the causes leading to the present situation, when the use of percentages and the disregard of more complex tendencies and phenomena could hinder the logical structure; and in the proposed solution, which could be ineffective should a number of events and changes not considered here hold true, such as the companies having different qualities, or different repertories. Therefore, although the author could be right in demanding action, both his logical basis and conclusion could be irrelevant and ineffective.


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