The following is a letter from the parent of a private school student to the principal of that school:
Last year, Kensington Academy turned over management of its cafeteria to a private vendor, Swift Nutrition. This company serves low-fat, low-calorie meals that students do not find enjoyable – my son and several of his friends came home yesterday complaining about the lunch options. While the intent of hiring Swift may have been to cause students to eat healthier foods, the plan is just going to cause students to bring their own, less healthy lunches instead of eating cafeteria food. If Swift is not replaced with another vendor, there will be serious health consequences for Kensington students.
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
The letter above seems to come from an honest, concerned point of view from a parent. However, there are various statements in the letter that come across as questionable and that would need further explanation as to assess whether the prediction and the argument in which it is based on are actually reasonable. Questions concerning the difference in timespan, the proportion of students complaining and who would bring their own lunches, how unhealthy those lunches would be, and what vendors would replace Swift Nutrition would need to be answered.
The first question that needs to be answered is one that is only subtly apparent in the letter. This parent makes note that Swift Nutrition was given management of the cafeteria last year, yet the son and his friends only complained about it yesterday. Have they been complaining ever since the company took over last year? If so, the parent can continue with his or her argument. However, what if the son and his friends had complained for their first time yesterday, despite Swift Nutrition being in place since last year (and if last year was at least some months ago)? If so, why did they barely just complain? Perhaps in reality they have been liking Swift Nutrition, and just yesterday did they get served something they didn't like. If this was the case, then making a generalization about Swift Nutrition as a whole would be entirely unreasonable and would then dismiss the following arguments the parent makes.
Of course, the argument above as to why it would be unreasonable would hold true if the reason the parent was stating that students do not find the meals enjoyable is by assumption only because of the son and his friends. This brings forth the next question that needs to be addressed. Exactly how many students have complained about Swift Nutrition? Are the son and friends representative of the majority, or are they representative of the minority that dislike the food? If the latter was true, then that means that the majority of students do not complain and may, in fact, like their meals. If so, there would be no further reason to assess the next arguments because they would be able to be dismissed.
Directly related to the above. If in fact a large proportion of students complained about the meals, does that mean that they actually would bring heir own? Many students might complain but would still rather eat at the academy than take the time to bring their own meals. The actual number of students who would actually bring their own meals would need to be discovered as to make the next argument related to unhealthy foods.
One of the most significant questions that would definitely need to be answered here would be the issue of how healthy the meals are. The parent here is assuming that, if all of the previous questions turned out to be in his or her favor in terms of the argument, that the kids would then bring unhealthy lunches. Would they, in reality? That's a big assumption to make. It's especially fallacious because the prediction involves there being serious health consequences for the students. Even if the majority of students complained about the food, dislike the food, and bring their own lunches, doesn't mean that this same majority will all bring significantly more unhealthy food that would prove the prediction right. Perhaps even just bringing food that is a little bit less healthy would not really cause any significant damage.
The main prediction of the letter states that, if it is not replaced with another vendor, there will be serious health consequences. Of course, the assumption here is that any vendor will be better for their health than the lunches the kids bring. Even if all of the questions addressed above turned out to support the generalization that this parent makes, and the students in fact did bring significantly more unhealthy meals to eat, what's to say that another vendor won't be just as unhealthy? The question of what other vendor would replace Swift Nutrition would need to be answered more specifically. If McDonalds took over, for example, it could very well cause even more problems.
One aspect of the letter that is also subtly hidden is the mention of health consequences. The nutrition we get is just one aspect of our health. There are many other ways to be healthy, so the question related to how large of a significant nutrition plays in each kids' overall health needs to be addressed, but this i a question that is much more difficult to assess. Still, it's one to think about because the prediction at the end of the latter doesn't just mention health in terms of food, but health overall, which can encompass any different factors.
Overall, quite a lot of questions need to be answered to assess whether the prediction is reasonable or not. The answers to these questions would help determine which arguments in the letter actually make sense and which don't. Surely this is a realistic scenario that could very well happen in many places. Nutrition is certainly a big part of our health. But making such generalizations and assumptions would be hasty and erroneous without further, specific evidence.
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argument 1 -- OK
argument 2 -- OK
argument 3 -- OK
argument 4 -- OK
argument 5 -- OK
argument 6 -- OK
No. of Words: 883 350 //Write the essay in 30 minutes.
argument 1 and argument 2 can be one argument
argument 3 and argument 4 can be one argument
argument 5 and argument 6 can be one argument
Attribute Value Ideal
Score: 5.0 out of 6
Category: Very Good Excellent
No. of Grammatical Errors: 0 2
No. of Spelling Errors: 0 2
No. of Sentences: 41 15
No. of Words: 883 350
No. of Characters: 4195 1500
No. of Different Words: 300 200
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 5.451 4.7
Average Word Length: 4.751 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.53 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 264 100
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 199 80
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 143 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 92 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 21.537 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 10.645 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.585 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.266 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.48 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.089 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 8 5