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National Curriculum GRE Issue - With A Free Essay Review
"A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college." Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
The statement claims that a nation should require all of students to study the same national curriculum until they enter university. This is true that implementing this plan will make all students receive equal quality of education regardless of different gender, race or other factors. Al
so, all students receiving the same national curriculum will make Ministry of Education achieve educational objectives more easily and effectively. For example, Ministry of Education can work out an appropriate national curriculum that includes basic knowledge and fundamental skills for the purpose of ensuring that all students are expected to acquire necessary knowledge and live up to college’s requirements before entering into universities.
However, even though this plan may be promising and worthy, careful examination of the plan uncovers some serious flaws which lead it to an inapplicable proposal.
First, different areas have different kinds of cultures, customs, so schools in these areas must add some specific and localized courses to satisfy local residents’ need. Take China as an excellent example of this point. Although all Chinese students in high schools will study the basic subjects including mathematics, physics and chemistry, stipulated by Ministry of Education, students in different areas will also learn several courses with respect to their culture. In Tibet, students in high schools will learn Tibetan language, a language frequently used by local inhabitants. Apart from this course, many schools in Tibet will also establish a course concerning Buddhism because a large number of Tibetans are pious believers in Buddhism. Therefore, if Chinese Ministry of Education demands all students to learn the same courses, students with different cultures are bound to lose their native speciality ranging from language to cultural values.
Some people may argue that students can study the same national curriculum in some countries as long as these countries are small and all people share the same values, culture and history. However, even in this special case, students ought not study only the same courses as others do. This is an indisputable fact that every student has distinctive interest and habit. One may dream of being a famous pianist, while other wants to become a prestigious football player. If all high schools’ curricula are restricted to the same courses according to national curriculum, these students, though minor, will suffer greatly since in school, they cannot learn what they are really interested in, which may reduce their passion and enthusiasm in going to school at last. Without additional courses, students with special talents will hardly become another Picasso or Mozart. Thus, a good school, while providing basic courses in order to impart indispensable knowledge, also needs to add courses students are interested in, such as art or music courses.
All the evidence put forward above support an unshakable conclusion that the right way for nations is to draw up a national curriculum as well as allowing schools to establish diverse courses under their distinctive circumstances and student’s needs. Only in this way, can all students not only acquire necessary knowledge, but also have channels to learn what they are enthusiastic about.
The prompt asks you to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation. Your essay suggests that you disagree with the statement entirely. That's a strong claim, since it implies that for you there are no circumstances in which adopting a national curriculum would be a good idea. Strong claims like that can be difficult to defend since you have to make the case that in every nation the circumstances that make the recommendation disadvantageous prevail. In an exam situation, I think it is a good idea to leave yourself a little room for equivocation or nuance. That is, instead of saying "the plan [has] flaws which [make it] an inapplicable proposal [just saying 'bad recommendation' would be a lot clearer here than 'inapplicable proposal']," why not just say that "in many [or even “most”] cases, the recommendation would be disadvantageous." That not only leaves you room to acknowledge possible cases in which it might be advantageous, but also leaves you with an easier argument to defend.
That said, you do a pretty good job of defending your strong claim. You point to the need to have a flexible curriculum in countries with significant cultural differences from one region to another, and then deal with the possible objection that other countries exists that are more culturally homogeneous by claiming that every student is different. That's a good way to construct an argument (make a positive case, and defend it from possible objections). The only problem with the argument is that it is not really true. It is not the case that in countries with a national curriculum, there is no choice about what to study. You take "national curriculum" to imply a situation in which every student studies the same course material as every other student, and nothing else. But you can also have a national curriculum where students choose what to study from certain electives, even if the latter are taught in accordance with the national curriculum. A national curriculum, in other words, does not necessarily limit the number of different courses that can be taught. It rather determines what ought to be taught in each course.
There's not much you can do about misinterpreting a question in an examination, but for this kind of question, in the GRE exams, if your interpretation leads you to say something like "I disagree entirely with the recommendation," then there's a very good chance that you have misinterpreted it. The GRE questions are designed to see how you deal with complex problems that tend to result in hemming and hawing and at best tentative conclusions. There's no prize for coming to an "unshakeable conclusion."
P.S., It might be worth pointing out that another approach to a critical assessment of the recommendation would be to think about whether a national curriculum, if there is to be one, ought to govern education all the way up to the end of high school.