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

I strongly agree with the statement because a uniform national curriculum is beneficial for both schools and universities, as well as for the most part of the students in the country. In certain cases, of course, it could be better to have a more individual approach to some groups of students. However, in general, advantages greatly outweigh disadvantages.

The same national curriculum is created in order to ensure that all the students are exposed to the same arrangement of subjects. It means that every student in a country graduating from the school has read pretty much the same books (at least obligatory ones), is aware of the theory of evolution, principles of physics or chemistry and so on. Such a program makes sure children have a good notion about the world around them. It also helps to emphasize certain cultural and moral norms, especially those important for the country. In addition, standardized education obtained in school makes it easier to evaluate students’ performance at the standardized tests, such as SAT, for example. So, the same national curriculum ensures that children get the same overall knowledge of fundamental principles; it also helps to imbue certain moral norms important for that country, and helps to assess student’s aptitude with the help of a uniform standardized test.

Along with being beneficial for schools, the same national curriculum is advantageous for universities. Firstly, it enables universities to build up its programs on the base of the school curriculum. If College Board is sure that all the applicants have been taught the same array of subjects, it can create its own curriculum suitable for every student. Secondly, knowing that all the applicants have had the same curriculum, university can distinguish between them on the base of their average grades or a standardized test score. Thus, such a curriculum makes sure that all the children in a country have equal chances of being admitted in a university, at least from the point of view of their educational background.

However, there are certain shortcomings in requiring all the students to study the same national curriculum. Such uniform syllabus is usually created by an educational body in the government in accordance with the aptitude of an average student. As long as there will always be some students who deviate from the average level, uniform curriculum will not be the best option for everyone in the country. For instance, mastering this curriculum can be pretty hard for students below average and rather boring for those whose level is higher than the average. In these cases school teachers and parents could work together to help these children make their best of the school years. It could be really helpful to develop some supplementary courses for those who have problems with the curriculum, or to create some extracurricular classes for those students who wish to get a deeper knowledge of some subjects. Thus, along with the same national curriculum, schools should have the possibility to adapt their program according to regional requirements or to the needs of their students.

To sum up, studying the same national curriculum is beneficial for students at schools and colleges, inasmuch as it allows to imbue children with the relevant moral norms, to emphasize cultural heritage of the country, and to assess students’ aptitude with the help of standardized tests. Along with benefits of the uniform national curriculum created in concordance with the aptitude of an average student, there are certain unavoidable shortcomings stemming from the fact that not all students are average. However, in my opinion, advantages greatly outweigh disadvantages.



This is quite a good essay that covers a fair amount of relevant ground, despite the occasional unnecessary repetition. (Generally, I think it is better to develop, if you can, an argument, or articulate a new one, than to recapitulate what has already been said. Every argument you make tells me something about how you think; every recapitulation tells me something about your ability to recapitulate, a skill that is probably not being much attended to by GRE essay readers.) Aside from the repetition, the biggest problem with the content of the essay is not what it includes but what it excludes. You seem to have not addressed here a fundamental question, except briefly and largely implicitly in your penultimate paragraph. I'm not actually sure how big this "biggest problem" is, because your essay certainly does consider circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would and would not be advantageous. But one needs to say something here, so forgive the following.

Here’s the question your essay doesn’t address: Why not have instead a national curriculum that is optional? (The original claim is that all students should be required to study the national curriculum.) Why force the next Mozart, say, to waste time studying trite and in most cases useless facts about the glorious history of the motherland or the names of rivers that irrigate the great plains when he could devote that time to deep study of music and mathematics? To be sure, a national curriculum has advantages, but why not make studying the national curriculum an available option for every student who seeks those advantages instead of a requirement? (Your answer, presumably, would be that you think the student is a minor incapable of deciding what he or she ought to study; the parents are typically tendentious amateurs in the matter of their children's education and so it is also not fair to students to leave the matter up to them; and perhaps you would insist that there just are things that even the next Mozart should know about his motherland and whatnot and a national curriculum that he is forced to study would ensure he gets to know that stuff.)

Let’s say, to take another example, that I run a school district and think, perhaps with justification, that the national curriculum sucks and want to implement a better curriculum in my district, perhaps one that takes account of, say, a) the fact that there are important characteristics of society in my region of the country that are unique to the area and explicable only in terms of local political and cultural history, which is ignored by the national curriculum; (b) the fact that most children in my area cannot afford to or do not want to attend university, and so need a more practical education than the national curriculum affords so that they can enter the workforce after secondary school, as most of them do, with the kind of skills that will allow them to fare better than the national curriculum allows them to; and (c) the fact that the national curriculum demands that we teach, say, several computer science modules but there is a shortage of qualified teachers in the country and few want to come to my area to teach, so we end up having the courses taught by those not well qualified to teach them while expert teachers in other subjects more beneficial to our students are unemployed. In short, the specific circumstances facing me as the head of the local education board dictate, in my view, adopting a new curriculum. All I want to argue, however, in my imaginary role here, is that a different, local curriculum be available as an option to students, but some government official in a city a thousand miles away thinks he and his group of corrupt friends know better what students in my area should be studying.

I've been going on like this only to indicate that there is another level of complexity in these "GRE issues" that most essays, for good reason, do not reach, but that is much more easily reached when given the instruction to "describe specific circumstances etc." because it is usually much easier to concoct examples of peculiar specific circumstances that would make any general policy (any policy for everyone, say) sound problematic than it is to construct complex, abstract arguments to refute a well-reasoned claim. (The upshot: If one wants to aim higher, there is something higher to aim for).

A final piece of more concrete advice. You conclude with this sentence: "However, in my opinion, [the] advantages greatly outweigh [the] disadvantages." That really is just an opinion unless you are going to support it with reasons. "Well I have," say you. "Didn't you read my essay?" Sure I read your essay; I just mean to imply that you ought not to leave it up to me to determine why exactly your essay's argument means that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I would guess that what you would say, if put to it, is that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages both because the advantages are greater in number and because the disadvantages are in themselves relatively minor disadvantages and easily overcome, and that is why you think a nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum. I think, if it doesn't go without saying, that you should in fact say what you would (I guess) say if put to it!

Best, EJ.

P.S. I've noted and appreciate that you've taken the time to say 'thank you' in the comment section of your other essays. You don't have to repeat the gesture for this rambling mess of a review.
Submitted by: elenad3d


Dear EJ,

Thank you so much for this extraordinary review!
I've reread it at least 10 times and apart from giving brilliant strategies it also made me smile each time I imagined little Mozart struggling with boring physics assignment, or a director of a remote school trying to tackle all these a,b,c issues. You have a rare genius of pointing out flaws in such a way that makes students, at least me, feel much better and heartened. Honestly, this is the first time in my life when I really feel grateful for the critique of my work. So, thank you one more time for doing all this in such a solicitous way.

P.S. I hope you don't mind me repeating the "thank you" gesture - I just wasn't able to wrestle with temptation)))
August,07 2012

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