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  1. Topic 846 - The following is a memorandum issued by the publisher of a newsmagazine, Newsbeat, in the country of Dinn. "Our poorest-selling magazine issues over the past three years were those that featured international news stories on their front covers. Over the same period, competing news-magazines have significantly decreased the number of cover stories that they devote to international news. Moreover, the cost of maintaining our foreign bureaus to report on international news is increasing. Therefore, we should decrease our emphasis on international news and refrain from displaying such stories on our magazine covers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 890 - The following appeared in a memorandum from the president of Hyper-Go Toy Company. "Last year, sales of our Fierce Fighter toy airplane declined sharply, even though the toy had been a top seller for three years. Our customer surveys show that parents are now more worried about youthful violence and are concerned about better education for their children. Therefore, to maintain profits we should discontinue all our action toys and focus exclusively on a new line of educational toys. Several other toy companies have already begun marketing educational toys and report sales increases last year of 200 percent. And since the average family income is growing, sales of new Hyper-Go toys should also increase. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 750 - The cities of East Sacunda and West Sacunda are in an earthquake-prone area. Since 1985 both cities have had stringent building codes requiring all new buildings to have specific features designed to prevent damage in an earthquake. Buildings built before 1985 are exempt from the codes, but many building owners have modified their buildings to make them conform to the 1985 codes. Last year a major earthquake hit the area, and many people lost their homes. The number of people who were left homeless was much higher in East Sacunda than in West Sacunda, however, so we can conclude that building owners in East Sacunda were less likely to modify their buildings so as to bring them up to the 1985 code standards. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 897 - The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. "During her three years in office, Governor Riedeburg has shown herself to be a worthy leader. Since she took office, crime has decreased, the number of jobs created per year has doubled, and the number of people choosing to live in our state has increased. These trends are likely to continue if she is reelected. In addition, Ms. Riedeburg has promised to take steps to keep big companies here, thereby providing jobs for any new residents. Anyone who looks at Ms. Riedeburg's record can tell that she is the best-qualified candidate for governor. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 809 - The following is part of a letter from the Brookfree School Board. "As part of our new educational reform program, we identified ten schools most in need of immediate improvement. An advisory committee is now recommending that we hire consultants to study further the schools' problems and to propose a plan of action. Only two years ago, however, another group of consultants determined that several schools in our district had problems because their principals were inexperienced. Thus, if we want to see immediate improvement in our schools and save the district the money it would spend on hiring more consultants, we should replace all the principals in the ten worst schools with ten of our most experienced principals in the district. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 983 - The following appeared in a report by the School District of Eyleria. "Nationally, the average ratio of computers to students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) is 1:5. Educators indicate that this is very good ratio. This means that across the country, all students have access to and can use computers daily in their classrooms. In Eyleria's K-12 schools, the ratio of computers to students is 1:7. This number is sufficient to ensure that all of Eyleria's students, by the time they graduate from high school, will be fully proficient in the use of computer technology. Thus, there is no reason to spend any of the schools' budget on computers or other technology in the next few years. " Read | Write
  7. Topic 900 - The following appeared in a newsletter from a political organization. "In order to promote economic growth in the city, city residents should vote 'yes' on the state government's proposal to build a new expressway linking the outlying suburbs directly to the city center. A direct link to the city center will enable downtown businesses to receive deliveries more frequently, so that downtown retailers will no longer run out of stock and city manufacturers will not be affected by shortages of materials. Booming businesses will attract qualified workers from all over the state, workers who will be able to take advantage of the new expressway to commute to work in our city. In addition to these advantages, hundreds of workers will be employed to build the expressway, further stimulating the local economy!" Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 757 - The following appeared in a memo written by the head of the Gorham School. "Our school cafeteria should make changes in the lunches that it serves in order to improve the health of our students. Several teachers and I have observed that students who eat these meals tend to eat the main course and the dessert, but seldom finish the vegetable portion. This pattern means that students are missing the vital nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, which are typically rich in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, the school cafeteria should serve larger fruit and vegetable portions along with smaller main course and dessert portions. This change will be effective because, according to research conducted at the Rose Children's Hospital, children eat the same amount of food served to them ?about 55 percent, on average ?no matter what the main course is. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 975 - When Stanley Park first opened, it was the largest, most heavily used park in town. It is still the largest park, but it is no longer heavily used. Video cameras mounted in the park's parking lots last month revealed the park's drop in popularity: the recordings showed an average of only 50 cars per day. In contrast, tiny Carlton Park in the heart of the business district is visited by more than 150 people on a typical weekday. An obvious difference is that Carlton Park, unlike Stanley Park, provides ample seating. Thus, if Stanley Park is ever to be as popular with our citizens as is Carlton Park, the town will obviously need to provide more benches, thereby converting some of the unused open areas into spaces suitable for socializing. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 866 - The Department of Education in the state of Attra recommends that high school students be assigned homework every day. Yet a recent statewide survey of high school math and science teachers calls the usefulness of daily homework into question. In the district of Sanlee, 86 percent of the teachers reported assigning homework three to five times a week, whereas in the district of Marlee, less than 25 percent of the teachers reported assigning homework three to five times a week. Yet the students in Marlee earn better grades overall and are less likely to be required to repeat a year of school than are the students in Sanlee. Therefore, all teachers in our high schools should assign homework no more than twice a week, if at all. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 893 - The following appeared in the editorial section of a student newspaper. "In a recent survey, most students who were studying beginning Russian gave higher course-evaluation ratings to classes taught by non-native Russian speakers than to classes taught by native Russian speakers. The reason that the non-native speakers were better teachers of Russian is easy to see: the non-native speakers learned Russian later in life themselves, and so they have a better understanding of how the language can be taught effectively. Therefore, in order to improve instruction for all languages and also save money, our university should hire non-native speakers as language instructors instead of trying to find and recruit native speakers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 908 - The following appeared as a letter to the editor of a local Solano newspaper. "The Solano school district should do away with its music education programs. After all, music programs are not especially popular in our schools: Only 20 percent of our high school students participated in music programs last year. Furthermore, very few of the Solano district's college-bound students are interested in majoring in music at the university level. Also, when the school district of our neighboring town of Rutherford eliminated its music programs two years ago, the overall grade point average in the high school increased by 10 percent the next year. Surely the money spent on Solano music programs could be better used to improve the quality of traditional academic courses. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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October 15, 2016