Topic: The following appeared in an e-mail sent by the marketing director of the Classical Shakespeare Theatre of Birdville. “Over the past ten years, there has been a 20 percent decline in the size of the average audience at Classical Shakespeare Theatre productions. In spite of increased advertising, we are attracting fewer and fewer people to our shows, causing our profits to decrease significantly. We must take action to attract new audience members. The best way to do so is by instituting a ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ program this summer. Two years ago the nearby Avon Repertory Company started a ‘Free Plays in the Park’ program, and its profits have increased 10 percent since then. Therefore, I recommend that we start a ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ program of our own. If we do so, I predict that our profits will also see a significant increase.” Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted. Explanation of Score Your essay will be evaluated for its overall quality, based on how well you do the following: respond to the specific task directions consider the complexities of the issue, or identify and analyze important features of the argument organize, develop, and express your ideas support your ideas with relevant reasons and examples control the elements of standard written English. A well-written response clearly communicates your message or ideas to a reader. Be sure your essay clearly relates to the question you have chosen to write on. Also, in presenting and developing your response, please be sure to address the specific task instructions. Use appropriate, specific details to support your thesis or to develop your ideas. These may include facts, dates, or names specific examples, or personal experience explanations or descriptions. No outside sources required and refrain from abbreviations. Think about the best way to organize your response: A reader should be able to follow your ideas, explanations, and arguments without becoming confused. Think about the order in which you present your information. Think about the best way to indicate connections among your ideas. Use the English language appropriately by making sure you have: use words that express the ideas you want to communicate used the correct forms of words used correct sentence structure used sentence structure that expresses the ideas you want to communicate. Be sure to review your response for errors in word forms and grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling. Although the GRE® Analytical Writing section contains two discrete tasks, a single combined score is reported because it is more reliable than is a score for either task alone. The reported score, the average of the scores for the two tasks, ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments. The statements below describe, for each score level, the overall quality of critical thinking and analytical writing demonstrated across both the Issue and Argument tasks. As the name suggests, the Analytical Writing section is designed to assess both critical thinking skills and writing ability. Thus, many aspects of analytical writing, including reasoning skills, organization, and degree of control of the conventions of standard written English are taken into consideration in the determination of a final score. For a full description of how these criteria are used to assess essay responses, please refer to the scoring guides for the Issue and Argument tasks, which are available on the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre/revised/scoreguides Analyze an Argument Scoring Guide. Score 6 – Outstanding In addressing the specific task directions, a 6 response presents a cogent, well-articulated examination of the argument and conveys meaning skillfully. A typical response in this category clearly identifies aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task and examines them insightfully develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them with clear transitions provides compelling and thorough support for its main points conveys ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage, and mechanics) but may have minor errors. Score 5 – Strong In addressing the specific task directions, a 5 response presents a generally thoughtful, well-developed examination of the argument and conveys meaning clearly. A typical response in this category clearly identifies aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task and examines them in a generally perceptive way develops ideas clearly, organizes them logically, and connects them with appropriate transitions offers generally thoughtful and thorough support for its main points conveys ideas clearly and well, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English but may have minor errors. Score 4 – Adequate In addressing the specific task directions, a 4 response presents a competent examination of the argument and conveys meaning with acceptable clarity. A typical response in this category identifies and examines aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task but may also discuss some extraneous points develops and organizes ideas satisfactorily but may not connect them with transitions supports its main points adequately but may be uneven in its support demonstrates sufficient control of language to convey ideas with acceptable clarity generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English but may have some errors Score 3 – Limited A 3 response demonstrates some competence in addressing the specific task directions, in examining the argument, and in conveying meaning but is obviously flawed. A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics: does not identify or examine most of the aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task, although some relevant examination of the argument is present mainly discusses tangential or irrelevant matters, or reasons poorly is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas offers support of little relevance and value for its main points has problems in language and sentence structure that result in a lack of clarity contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that can interfere with meaning. Score 2 – Seriously Flawed. A 2 response largely disregards the specific task directions and/or demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing. A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics: does not present an examination based on logical analysis, but may instead present the writer’s own views on the subject does not follow the directions for the assigned task does not develop ideas, or is poorly organized and illogical provides little, if any, relevant or reasonable support for its main points has serious problems in language and sentence structure that frequently interfere with meaning contains serious errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that frequently obscure meaning. Score 1 – Fundamentally Deficient. A 1 response demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing. A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics: provides little or no evidence of understanding the argument provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized response (i.e., is disorganized and/or extremely brief) has severe problems in language and sentence structure that persistently interfere with meaning. contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that result in incoherence. Score 0 Off-topic (i.e., provides no evidence of an attempt to respond to the assigned topic), in a foreign language, merely copies the topic, consists of only keystroke characters, or is illegible, or nonverbal.
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