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A Nation Should Require All Of Its Students To Study The Same National Curriculum - With A Free Essay Review



CLAIM: A Nation Should Require All Of Its Students To Study The Same National Curriculum Until They Enter College.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Quoted by Nelson Mandela, it emphasises the fact that education is the bedrock of social and economic development. Throughout the history, great philosophers like Aristotle have advocated the necessity of a proper education especially for children. The children are the future of a nation. Along with becoming independent and successful, they are the ones who carry the burden of their nation’s prosperity in years to come. Therefore, it is very important to form a strong base in their formative years so that they are not only successful in the personal front but also turn out to be good citizens. Hence, the education curriculum should be carefully chosen to fulfil these requirements. I believe that the curriculum being followed in a nation should be similar but schools should have some freedom to introduce or change it to a certain extent.

Having a uniform national curriculum is beneficial in many ways. As we know that massive production brought about by the same mould reduces the cost of production and increases product efficiency. Hence, providing children of different schools with the same national curriculum would aid in the reduction of the nation’s efforts in evaluation of the student’s study. Obviously, if different school follow different curriculum, then the nation has to establish complex evaluative system to assess and compare the knowledge base and talents of the students of different schools. Since different courses have different values in assessing a student’s ability, the evaluation systems must take the decision to determine the weight that is to be added to each of these courses. If some tremendous change occurs in one district, the nation has to change the original system to adapt to it. This tedious task can be avoided if all the schools follow the same national curriculum. Moreover, the same curriculum can lead to the massive production of the required books, teaching facilities, and even the training of the corresponding teachers, which certainly reduce the cost of education.

From a student’s perspective, the same national curriculum ensures a stable and universal learning pattern, making it easier to refer to it. There are many students who attend more than one school during their education. A common national curriculum is very important for such students who leave one school and join another at a different place. For example, consider the people in a transferable job like the defence. They get transferred to different places and therefore their children have to change to different schools. If there is a lack of similarity in the curriculum, these students would have to face new and unfamiliar coursework wherever they go, thus putting the children at a great disadvantage. So, having the same curriculum is beneficial for the students as well.

Next, a national curriculum aids in the competition too. In order to find a place anywhere the students need to compete with each other. Therefore, uniformity is required at some level so that there is fair competition. Generally, students have to face an entrance test at the college level to secure a seat. This entrance test is based on the knowledge acquired by students in their high schools. If there is variation in the curriculum that they have studied, the entrance test will not be made on similar lines for everyone. Hence, it would benefit some students who have studied that curriculum while the others would be at a loss. There would be no way to judge their capabilities based on similar parameters. Hence, it is very important that uniformity be maintained in the curriculum at the school level to ensure an unbiased assessment.

However, I maintain that along with following the national guidelines for curriculum, schools should have certain liberty in choosing the format of courses it offers. Each student is different and so are his abilities. While there are some students who are fast learners, some are average and some are extremely slow. Moreover, the interests of students vary. Keeping in mind the interests of students, the curriculum should be moulded so that they retain their interest in studies altogether.

In the end I would I like to conclude that a uniform pattern on the whole is very important at a national level. However, at the same time, schools should be able to make certain changes that benefit the students.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Let me begin with an obvious point. You will get no points for repeating commonplace thoughts, and since cliches irritate some readers unreasonably, they are best avoided. The fact that children are the future, for instance, is a trite fact, and it's not even important to deciding the question about a national curriculum. Your opening paragraph as a whole seems mostly concerned with establishing the fact of the importance of education, which is not something you need to establish for this essay. You should be focused from the beginning on whether there ought to be standard curriculum in a nation or whether curricula should be decided on a regional basis, or even on a school-by-school basis, or again whether students of a certain age should be given the freedom to choose their own courses. If you think a national curriculum would promote a higher educational standard, then by all means you can make that argument, but since there is so much else to argue about here, there's nothing to be gained by making a case for a point that's hardly arguable; you do not need to convince anyone that education is important.

So your essay doesn't really get started until the second paragraph. Your first argument there is that a national curriculum would reduce the overall effort needed to evaluate students. You also point to the difficulty of fairly evaluating students who take different courses. These are reasonable arguments, though you could probably articulate them with greater clarity and concision. You conclude the paragraph with a claim about the savings that might result from a national curriculum (it's "mass production" by the way, not "massive production"). This point would be related to the earlier argument in the paragraph if the paragraph as a whole concerned the more general question of, say, efficiency. In other words, if you began the paragraph with a topic sentence about efficiency (e.g., "A national curriculum is a good option because it is the most efficient option"), then the paragraph as a whole would be more unified and coherent. The next paragraph, by contrast, is a good example of a unified paragraph that focuses on a single topic. The concluding phrase of the opening sentence ("making it easier to refer to it") is, however, pretty vague.

Your paragraph on the question of fairness is also a good, single-topic paragraph, but again the point could be made with greater concision. The first half of that paragraph, for instance, could probably be well enough summarized in a single sentence (e.g., A national curriculum would make it easier for universities to create fair entrance tests).

The point you make in your penultimate paragraph is the least clear argument in your essay. The point about "format" seems to be irrelevant to the question about a national curriculum. If it is relevant, you don't explain how it is relevant. The point about differences in students' abilities is even less clear. On the one hand, it looks, from the way the paragraph is organized, that you want this point to relate to your argument about format, but you don't establish how different formatting (whatever that means exactly) can be used to meet the needs of students of different ability. On the other hand, the point about different abilities leads into a claim about keeping students interested. Presumably you intend to imply some relationship between the two claims here, but you don't articulate it. And, again, what those claims have to do with the question of whether there should be a specifically national curriculum is not at all clear. Again, for this kind of essay, it is important to remain sharply focused on the topic. You don’t have the time, and the reader may not have the patience, for digressions.

You could, however, possibly use some of those points that you make in that penultimate paragraph in a paragraph that was clearly focused instead on the question of the possible disadvantages of a national curriculum. The GRE prompts are designed, I imagine, to allow you demonstrate your ability to analyze both advantages and disadvantages of given claims. I know that in some cases the instructions that come with such prompts specifically require you to consider both sides of an issue. In this case, perhaps the most obvious side of the argument that you don't address is the degree to which a national curriculum removes choice from students. The prompt's claim specifies that all students would be required to study the national curriculum until they enter college. That seems to take a lot of freedom away from students, who might be forced to study advanced concepts in courses for which they have neither love nor aptitude and at an age when one would think they might be old enough to decide what to study themselves. A student determined to be an engineer, for instance, might well want the freedom to focus, in his or her last two years of high school, on the sciences and not waste time, as that student might see it, on poetry. Why should a government organization deny such a student the right to do that? Could one not even argue that introducing some degree of specialization in the final few years of high school would have benefits for colleges (who might have better prepared students) and society generally?

Taking account of some such counter-arguments in your essay, however, would not mean abandoning your position (you might simply argue that the benefits of a national curriculum outweigh the disadvantages; you might even argue that the national curriculum could be just a core curriculum that allowed for a number of electives) and it would have the benefit of making your overall argument more complex and nuanced, which I suspect would impress your reader.

Best, EJ.

P.S. I just too a look at the ETS site and noticed the following instructions attached to the prompt:

“Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.”

It asks you to consider possible consequences. My point is that you should understand that to mean that you should consider both possible positive and negative consequences and weigh them against each other.
Submitted by: sweta
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