GRE Essay Topic 914 - The following appeared as an editorial in the student newspaper of Groveton College. "To combat the recently reported dramatic rise in cheating among college and university students, these institutions should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton's, 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 an old-fashioned system in which students were closely monitored by teachers and an average of thirty cases of cheating per year were reported. The honor code has proven far more successful: in the first year it was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey conducted by the Groveton honor council, a majority of students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
About transplanting Groveton College’s success in preventing
In the passage, the author suggests that all the colleges should copy the honor codes policy from Groveton College regarding its success in controlling the cheating and in changing the student’s attitude of cheating. Although it seems plausible at the first glance, there are still many questions to be answered to evaluate the possibility and rationality to transplanting such a policy into all the colleges.
First of all, we need to know whether the report of the cheating cases can really reflect the situation. The author cited just two numbers of cheating cases before and after the policy came into efforts. However, we need to know whether the ratio of cheating among the students has the same tendency as the added number. Because the decline in cases can be contributed to the decrease in the number of students or the decrease of the frequency of the examinations(e.g. if some exams were substituted by presentations, there are no room for students to cheat in an exam.). So such an unanswered question might make the conclusion too arbitrary.
Moreover, we need to know whether the survey can truly reflect the students’ idea in their deep mood. The survey which the author referred to suggest the willingness of cheating may not be conducted in an appropriate way. For example, some students may fell fearful and shy to say in public that they would like to cheat in an exam. So we need more information about how the survey was designed and how the student would like to tell the truth to the researcher. The survey can not serve as a reference to support the argument until it turns out to be scientific and well-designed.
Last but not least, even if the honor code system does make a difference in Groveton College, there is still a question that whether the same policy can also show its efficiency in another different college. What if another University has already had a more effective method to prevent the student from cheating? Or what if the average level of the students in this college are totally different from that in G.C. ? There are still many factors we need take into consideration if we need to transplant the same policy into another situation. So more information about the adaptability of the policy should be given to better evaluate the argument.
In conclusion, to accept the information, the author should at least give answers to the questions above. Otherwise, his recommendation would just be a castle upon pillars of sand.
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