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.
There are questions at stake, as far as I'm concerned, regarding the validity of the recommendation. Let me put them in detail in the following discussion. According to the note, it compared the results of the first year of the system with fifth year's and it showed declining trend. Unfortunat...
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In the report, it is recommended that all colleges and universities adopt honor codes which Groveton has dopted to avoid cheating among students.
To support this recommandation, the reporter cites some facts involving Groveton College and a recent survey.
However, in order for those evidence to lend credence to this conclusion, questions must be anweres first, absent which it so far renders this recommendation unconvincing.
Firstly, it suggests that the number of cases of cheating that teachers reported has experienced a decline since this policy has been adopted.
However, the number of those reported by teachers is not necessarily equal to the acutual number of cases of cheating.
Without answering this potential problem, this is entirely possible that many cases happened without being caught by those teachers.
Or perhaps those teachers choose to not to report some cases out of some reasons. If those are the case, then they provide alternative explanations for this decline.
Secondly, no evidence provided in the report shows that the recent survey is statistically reliable. Before this survey amounts to a strong evidence to this recommendation,
the procedure must be conducted scientifically. However, we are not informed by the reporter of the size of the sample. The smaller the size, the less reliable the survey.
We should also know the proportion of the respondents in the students surveyed, since those who respond the survey might well be good students who prefer not to cheat in their academinc endeavors.
Again, the smaller the proportion, the less reliable the survey.
Even if the survey is reliable enough to suggest that students in the Groveton College are less likely to cheat than before,
the reporter is too hasty to draw the conclusion that this policy should be administered to all college and universities, since this conclusion is based on a false analogy between Groveton College and other unverisities.
In order for the former to server as a fine example for the latter, it must assume that all the conditions in those unversities are essentially the same. Yet, it fails to provide statistics to substantiate this assumption.
Without those evidence, the report cannot convince me the same policy will work efficiently in other colleges and universities with the mere fact that it is helpful for only one school.
In sum, before the reporter argue that his recommendation is persuasive, he must anwer some critical questions: (1) whether the number of the cases of cheating those teachers reported are the number of those actual cases.
(2) whether the survey mentioned in the report is conducted in a scientific way. (3) whether the policy which proved to be effective in soly one school will definitely work well in all other schools.