Grade my Essay Please!

Thanks! I left the few typos :slight_smile:

“A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college”

Requiring students to study the same national curriculum up until a given point has been a mainstay of educational systems for generations. The notion of providing each individual with a strong and universal foundation of knowledge is admirable and has enabled civilization to grow and thrive. However, the amount of such standard knolwedge to be imparted is a issue for debate. Providing students with too few years of standardized curriculum may hamper their ability to grow and excel later in life, or even inhibit their capacity to perform basic tasks such as algebra. However, on the other hand, the notion that students should study the same national curriculum for 12 years and until they enter college provides them with knowledge on a range of topics that is a waste of time and resources, and robs them of the potential to allocate their time towards specific interests or professional pursuits.

First, studying the same national curriculum until every student reaches college age is a waste of resources that raises the bar for ‘general knowledge’ to include complex skills that the majority of students will never need. Does the general population need to study calculus? Does every person need to know basic microbiology? As an adult though, I can argue that though I did appreciate much of the general education I received, most of what I know today, was reacquired later on in life on a needs basis. This standardized test is a perfect example as well. One studies the core components of this test throughout high school, but it is safe to say that most that, like me, undertake the test 20 years later, need to relearn it all from scratch. Thus, much of the knowledge acquired during the later years leading up to college most likely do not meaningfully contribute to most people’s professional careers down the line. Does a future physicist need to know so much about history? And conversely, does a future history teacher need to understand so much about physics? This is only more significant for students that do not intend to go to college - the statement in of itself implies that all students will enter college, but this is patently false. Thus, by imparting students with a lot of information that they will likely not make use of, studying the same national curriculum until students reach college age is a waste of resources for the state, the student, and does not meaningfully contribute to the economy down the line.

Second, beyond the question of whether having the same national curriculum is a good idea or not, there is the debate surrounding whether having access to a breadth of standardized information actually helps students explore more topics, and thus discover what they would like to do in the future. However, would it not have been preferable for students to spend this time focusing instead on what so many now do in college, namely, discovering what they would like to do when they grow up.
For a long period, and still to this day in many countries, compulsory education lasts until one is 16 year old. Past this point, it is possible to then go on to professional development or vocational training. Though I am not stating that this is necessarily the right age, would it not be a better use of resources for students to spend this time engaged in other pursuits? For example, if someone is sure that they would like to become a doctor, should they not be shadowing a doctor and following a focused curriculum from a younger age? Surely that would benefit them and society the most.

Finally, there is the argument that students do not know what they want until later - that they are not mature enough, and by allowing them to decide, it will hurt them in the future. To this, I would counter argue that engaging in pursuits that one finds boring is not productive either. It leads to ennui, to lacklustre effort, and can severely hinder a young mind. It also is akin to saying that students should be afraid of failure. To take the prior example of someone that wants to be a doctor from a young age and shadows a doctor. If hypothetically speaking, that student began that focused journey at 12 years old, only to realize at 20 that they would like something else from life, is that such a bad thing? Failure is the greatest teacher, and the experienced gained along the way would be invaluable for that student. It is doubtful whether forcing the student to stay in the national curriculum until 18 and only then to pursue first an undergraduate degree in biology, followed by then going the medical school would have necessarily changed the end result. Instead, the more likely outcome would have been for both the student and society to have squandered yet more resourcces.

To conclude, it is important to mention that in general, the notion of a standardized curriculum, is one to be applauded. Prior to the age of universal access to education, there wa a major gap between those with the means to send their children to school and gain crucial skills such as reading and writing, algebra, and knowledge of the natural sciences, and those less fortunate that sent their children to work from a young age. The latter group ultimately ended up remaining with less access to advanced jobs and the pursuit of purpose and meaningful engagment, instead being relegated to the ‘rat race’ of basic survival and scrapping by doing thankless tasks. Thus, though in this essay I argue that students should not study the same national curriculum until they enter college, the argument specifically focuses on the end of the sentence, namely the extent of time that the national curriculum should cover. Enabling them to pursue their interests from a younger age would ultimately have more benefits for them and for society.

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Nice work @Navonel_Glick. This is a strong essay that I would score a 5.5.

In general, your writing quality is good overall. The essay is easy to read, and there aren’t many grammar or spelling issues. You have good variation in your sentences and use transitions well.

You could improve it by tightening up your structure. It’s good that you follow the 5-paragraph format, but it would help if your thesis paragraph more clearly outlined the topics you’ll focus on in your body paragraphs. Similarly, your conclusion should briefly restate those same main points. Be careful of using too many questions in your writing. Using one to drive home a rhetorical question can be ok, but in most careful you should rewrite those sentences to be statements. You have a tendency to write sentences with a short introductory clause, e.g., “Thus,” and then move on to your content. Try using more variation in your language or remove some of these to make your essay more impactful.

Really nice work overall!

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Great! Really good feedback, thanks. Here is another one please!

Prompt: People who make decisions based on emotion and justify those decisions with logic afterwards are poor decision makers.

When making decisions, there is no doubt that, as humans, we are influenced by both our emotions and our capacity for logical thinking. However, the important question is which of these two elements is driving the decision-making. To answer this question, one needs to define the purpose of decision-making, namely to achieve the optimal outcome for a situation. Emotions in the heat of the moment can cloud our judgement, whereas if one ignores the initial consideration of what the best outcome may be, the human mind is always capable of justfiying decisions after the fact. Viewed from this perspective, it is clear that decision-making is best done dispassionately, and based on logic first and foremost.

First, logic is a tool that we use to go beyond our emotional condition and plan for what can be long-term action that will result in a bettering of our condition. Of course, humans are endowed with both the same emotional drivers as other species of animals. We have survival instincts that have served us well, and kept our kind around, as the term ‘survival’ implies. We feel fear so that we can run away and save ourselves in the face of danger, instead of sticking around till it is too late. Similarly, the other side of the ‘fight or flight’ instinct is our predisposition to stand our ground when the circumstances demand it, and fight to protect ourselves and our families, tribe, etc. However, these emotional levers, driven by hormonal injections in our brain, only get us so far. They are meant for short-term action that only considers the immediate need at hand, and not what may serve us most in the long-term. As humankind has evolved, we have increasingly relied on our ability to dispassionately consider the facts of a situation, and use our logical judgement to arrive at a decision that will bring about the best possible outcome. Take for example this standardized test. Undergoing a test is hardly an emotionally pleasant experience - at the very least not for the majority of the population - and yet, given that performing well on this exam may lead to a long-term betterment of our professional condition, we subject ourselves to it willingly. Further, if we consider an extreme situation that also involves survival, such as the military consideration of Israeli leaders at this moment that must weigh the wellbeing of over 200 hostages, many of them children, against the overall safety of a whole population threatened by rockets and harm. Emotions might push one way or the other, but the decision must be made with cold, hard, logic.

Second, eading through this essay, one could be tempted to think that I am advocating for us to approach decision-making as emotionless robots. However, this could not be further from the truth. Emotions are useful but logic must drive all action and be served by emotion, and not the other way around. One ability that we excel at as a species, is the ability to justify actions after the fact. As any researcher will tell you, our ability to retroactively find a wonderful theory that can rationalize all our actions is second to none. One may be tempted to ask whether it is thus necessary at all to focus on logic if we can make sense of it all after. However, here again, the key lies in focusing on trying to find the best possible outcome. If we do not stop and think rationally, then we often do not consider all of the facts involved, and thus are unable to even determine what an optimal outcome looks like, let alone try to think through the steps necessary to achieve it. Thus, though emotions such as passion, or arguably even fear and anger can help us follow through with a plan, the initial plan needs to be based on logic and not the other way around.

There are however, instances where the above does not necessarily hold true. This is normal, and as the saying goes, the exception proves the rule. If we consider emergency situations requiring rapid action, then there may not really be time for in-depth thinking, and a quick emotionally driven response may be apt. Take for example the flight or fight examples I stated earlier. In these situations it is clear that it would be best to act, and not sit around trying to work out the long-term ramifications of deciding one way or another. In fact, the fight or flight instinct is a fantastic example because it kicks in subconsciously so we are left devoid of our ability to think logically, and we can be thankful for it.

In conclusion, people who make decisions based predominantly on emotion do not often achieve the best possible outcome. As I have shown, emotion does have its place in the decision-making process, however, apart from rare instances where it can make the difference between life and death – literally, logic is a better primary tool to ensure that we define a best possible outcome, plan out the steps needed to reach it, and subsequently take the required action.

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This is another solid essay, I’d say another 5.5.

It’s good that you cleaned up the rhetorical statements and comma usage. This essay reads much more smoothly than the first one.

Your overall paragraph structure could be improved a bit. Again, your thesis could clearly state the three main points you’ll discuss in the body paragraphs, and your conclusion should briefly restate them. You should aim for equally sized body paragraphs to cover each point fully - this essay trails off and gets shorter as you go on, giving the impression that you ran out of time.

Finally, it’s a good idea not to mention politics or potentially controversial topics. You could create a hypothetical situation to help illustrate a point, but make it different from real-world events.

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