Evidence suggests that academic honor codes, which call for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated, are far more successful than are other methods at deterring cheating among students at colleges and universities. Several years ago, Groveton College adopted such a code and discontinued its old-fashioned system in which teachers closely monitored students. Under the old system, teachers reported an average of thirty cases of cheating per year. In the first year the honor code was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey, a majority of Groveton students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without.
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
The argument states that a honor code was followed in order to reduce the number of cheating cases in the exams conducted in colleges and universities. Several reasons are presented and the example of Groveton college is taken as a testimony to fit the notion that, all other colleges will lead to the same positive result. However the reasoning is severely flawed and the explanations for the facts stated are not backed up by proper claims.
First of all, the term 'evidence' is not clearly explained. The case might be that the author refers to the incidents at Groveton college to be the evidence. However, there arises a question as to whether Groveton college is similar to most other colleges and universities. If the functioning methodology of different colleges are not the same, then this claim of evidence will not suit good. For example, Groveton college might be a very small college so that the cheating process can easily be controlled through honor codes' implementation. However, if other colleges are larger in population, then honor codes might not augur well with them. Hence the size of the college and it's functioning procedure are to be clearly explained in order to suit the claim.
The other methods which are deemed not advantageous are not mentioned in the argument. It is assumed that the old-fashioned system of teachers monitoring the students is one of the 'other methods'. However, for the reader to agree to the argument, all of the methods or at least several of them must be highlighted. Their advantages and disadvantages must be weighed against each other in comparison to honor codes. Only then can a clear-cut decision can be taken regarding the use and efficiency of honor codes.
A serious flaw in the argument is that, the author does not exactly mention when was the honor codes method adopted by Groveton college. The term 'several years' is ambiguous and it can be either 2 years or even 20 years. If the period is long, then there comes a question, if the honor codes will still succeed in the current education system. The claim has to be backed up by mentioning the number of years or an assurance that not many things have changed in these several years. Thus, the time factor specified by the author creates confusion and calls for relevant information to be specified.
Above all, the comparison of cheating numbers is seriously flawed and illogical. For example, it is stated that teachers reported an average of 30 cases per year in the old system. However, when the honor codes were implemented, it is stated that only 31 cases were reported by students. No mention of how many cases of this cheating were really validated and found to be true. The case might be that, some students are complaining of cheating, because of some personal affair with their friends. On the other hand, students might have withheld from reporting, because their best friends were found to be cheating. Hence the figure of "21" does not hold much charm. When the honor code was in place, the cheating cases dropped from 30 to 21. However, after 5 long years, the cases are said to have dropped only to 14. This casts a doubt because if the system had been there for 5 years, then the cheating cases must have drastically reduced. Hence the figures are not satisfactory and must be backed up with relevant situations and explanations.
Finally, the validity of the survey is put into question because of several reasons. The survey is said to be conducted 'recently'. If this had been done around the past 2 years, then it will hold good. However, if the author meant 'recent' to be '5 years' of time, then it will not be accurate. Moreover, the number of students surveyed has to be mentioned. The students must be spread over a wide variety of classes or departments, for the results of the survey to be accurate. Without these facts, the results of the survey cannot be taken into consideration.
Hence this argument seriously needs more of explanation for it to be a plausible one. The broad term 'evidence' must be elaborated and the list of evidence acquired must be listed down. The pros and cons of following honor codes must be weighed over other methods, to make the point clear. Terms like 'several years' and 'recently' are ambiguous and hence they must be explained with the mentioning of relevant time period. Comparison between the reporting of cheating cases by teachers and students must be proven to be equivalent and the figures mentioned must be backed up with reasoning. Therefore, these alternative explanations are needed in order for this argument to be believable.
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No. of Words: 791 350 (write the essay in half an hour)
Number of Paragraphs: 7 5 (five paragraphs are enough)
Sentence Length SD: 4.678 7.5
Read this link to understand What is sentence length SD:
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: 44 15
No. of Words: 791 350
No. of Characters: 3727 1500
No. of Different Words: 287 200
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 5.303 4.7
Average Word Length: 4.712 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.536 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 251 100
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 199 80
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 131 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 69 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 17.977 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 4.678 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.591 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.241 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.454 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.081 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 7 5