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GRE Argument Essay: Cheating Among College And University Students - With A Free Essay Review



Prompt: "According to a recent report, cheating among college and university students is on the rise. However, Groveton College has successfully reduced student cheating by adopting an honor code, which calls for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated. Groveton's honor code replaced a system in which teachers closely monitored students; under that system, teachers reported an average of thirty cases of cheating per year. In the first year the honor code was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey, a majority of Groveton students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without. Thus, all colleges and universities should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton's in order to decrease cheating among students. - Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation."

In the argument, the author suggests that all colleges should adopt honor codes similar to Gorveton’s in order to stop cheating among students, while failing to address several important issues that can potentially affect the validity of the conclusion.

First of all, in the case of Groveton College, the honor code system seems to help reduce the number of cheating cases, however, it is not known whether this is a typical case just for Groveton College or not. The author need to provide more successful examples of colleges across the nation, which adopted the honor code system, in order to make the conclusion that the honor code system is applicable nationwide. On the other hand, if there is evidence showing that the honor code system fails in several other colleges, then the effectiveness of honor code system would need to be re-evaluated.

In addition, the author assumes the figure of cheating cases has dropped after Groveton College implemented the honor code system, without specifying whether the drop of cheating cases is directly due to the effectiveness of honor code system or not. It is possible that students decide not to report cheating after a while, because this might potentially affect their social status. The author needs evidence to support that there is a causality or direct relationship between adopting the honor code system and the drop of cheating.

Furthermore, the author does not compare the effectiveness of the honor code system with other solutions such as counciling session. Nor does the author address whether the honor code system is the most effective one among all others or not. It is possible that the honor code system can help reduce student cheating, but counling session works even more effectively, and students profer counling session more. Without comparisons, the conclusion is very vulnerable.

Finally, the author mentions that according to the survey, students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without. However, the author did not specify characteristics of students who participated in the survey. If the survey was conducted among students who are proponents of the honor code system, then, the survey is less reliable and biased.

Overall, in order to bolster the conclusion, the author needs to address that more than one case show that the honor code system works, and the system can direcatly and effectively reduce the number of cheating. Compared to other solution, the honor code system is the best choice.

_________________________

ESSAY REVIEW

As before, you tend to identify relevant questions indirectly instead of directly and explicitly, which I think is a questionable approach. Be that as it may, your analysis of the recommendation is reasonable. The first question you identify is whether what has happened at Groveton represents the likely outcome at other schools that follow its approach. You put that question a bit awkwardly, but your essential claim (in effect: that it's unreasonable to predict general outcomes on the basis of a single data point) is correct. You also explicitly address the consequence for your evaluation of the recommendation of the possible answers to your question, as you should.

Your indirect approach to identifying questions is more problematic in the next paragraph. I would guess that the first question you want answered in this paragraph is, in its most general form, whether the reports of cheating accurately reflect the amount of cheating, or at least reflect it as accurately as the previous method of detecting cheating. Your asking whether there really has been a reduction in cheating. You might have introduced your question about the survey in the context of this more general question. The other problem with this paragraph is that, unlike your previous paragraph, you don't "explain how the answers" to your "questions would help to evaluate the recommendation."

(Note, by the way, that you are essentially asking, first, if the effect noticed at Groveton is reproducible, and, second, if it is real; it would make more sense to ask these question in the opposite order: is it real; if so, is it reproducible?)

Your penultimate paragraph in effect suggests the following: even if the effect is real, and it is reproducible, a greater effect might be achieved by other means, which would make the recommendation questionable. That's a good argument, but I think you ought to try practicing putting your specific arguments in the kind of general form that I've just indicated here, and then put that general form of the argument into the form of a question: Can a greater effect be achieved by different means?

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: uofr6460
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