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Issue 92: Assessment Of Students - With A Free Essay Review

Prompt: “Educators should base their assessment of students' learning not on students' grasp of facts but on the ability to explain the ideas, trends, and concepts that those facts illustrate.

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.”

As the speaker claims, rather than assessing the students' grasp of the facts, educators should evaluate students’ ability to explain the ideas, trends, and concepts that those facts illustrate. However, for my perspective, I agree with the speaker with concession. The recommendation can be suitable only when students have grasped the facts already. And examples will be provided to shape my position.

In one sense, we do need to master the facts and know the essence of the things. Generally speaking, it is a cornerstone of education, which we can not resist. Ignoring the digestion of the facts or the theories, only ensuring the competence to illustrate the conceptions, ideas and trends may be perfunctory. It is just like a debating team which has not get the key topic expresses a lot of useless points without any foundations. Without theory basis, strategies and actions to explain the ideas is nothing but fantasy.

In another,just as speaker advised, the ability to explain the ideas and concepts do have merits to our study. In my opinion, instead of memorizing it mechanically explaining the facts by our own can be the best way to comprehend. A famous Chinese man, called Zhao Kuo, was very fond of reading books on military science. He could recite military texts fluently. When discussing warfare, he could spoke so clearly and logically in a comparable degree. However, since Zhao Kuo had no practical experience, he was defeated and lost his life in battle. It refer that the purpose of education is not let students recite the facts and the theories learned from the class, but using these knowledge to resolve problems and answer questions.

Additionally, when convincing other people, explain the ideas, trends and concepts which the facts illustrate briefly can be effective. As we all know, Einstein’s theory of relativity can be difficult to be grasped by the layman. Learning the facts between lines may be difficult and easy to get bored. But Einstein gives us a good example to better explain his theory. He once gave a famous parable: "if a man sat with a beauty for 1 hour, he will feel it seems to be just 1 minute; but if he sat on a hot stove for 1 minute, he will think it seemed to be more than 1 hour." Thus, the ability of learning is not how many the facts you have learned, but whether you have the ability to explain the core of the facts and can help more people understand.



The essay contains several language errors that have a significant impact on the intelligibility of the essay. You also seem to conflate facts and theories, which makes your arguments less precise than they ought to be. The arguments you chose are also not very helpful. The point of the reference to “a debating team” is unclear; i.e., it’s not clear what that has to do with how educators ought to assess students. In fact, very little of the essay concerns how educators ought to assess students. Your essay argues rather that learning facts is important and that “the ability to explain ... ideas and concepts” is also important. The latter claim you illustrate with a reference to Zhao Kuo, but that example, first of all, has again nothing to do with student assessment and, second, actually illustrates a completely different point: experience outstrips the knowledge that can be gleaned from books. Finally, you have an anecdote about Einstein. I don’t know if Einstein really said what is attibuted to him in this paragraph, but the quotation doesn’t explain anything about the theory of relativity, and doesn’t illustrate anything about the relative importance of facts and ideas or trends. And, again, it doesn’t say anything about assessment of students.

To improve the clarity of your writing, simplify the syntax (use simple declarative statements) and the vocabulary (don’t use relatively uncommon words like “perfunctory” unless you are certain how they are used in standard English; don’t pick words out of a thesaurus), but also spend time studying English grammar and reading English prose.

To improve the quality of the argument, make sure, first, that you have correctly understood the prompt, and then focus on the issues that are raised by the prompt. In this prompt, the issue concerns the appropriate way to assess students. If you want to address that issue, you need to think about the consequences of adopting either method of assessment. And to help you do that, you need to choose examples relevant to that issue. If medical students, for example, are not tested on their knowledge of facts, how will that ultimately impact their ability to diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatment. If literature students, by contrast, are only tested on their knowledge of facts, how will that impact their ability to analyse poetry. And so on.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Joan


Thank you so much for your advise! I will try my best to examine the prompt next time.
May,29 2012

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