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The writing task required students to explain Kluckhohn's views about why the world's peoples are both different and similar -- to explain, that is, Kluckhohn's views about the influence of culture and its relations to biological facts -- and to respond to Kluckhohn's views.
While maintaining students' focus on Kluckhohn's central ideas, the essay topic was deliberately phrased to allow them to produce as broad a range of responses as possible.
Based on its experience with pretest essays, the Universitywide Subject A Examination Committee expected that most writers would illustrate or elaborate on Kluckhohn's assertions with examples drawn from their experience or reading, but also anticipated that some writers would question Kluckhohn's dismissal of factors other than culture and biology or suggest other explanations for the examples Kluckhohn cites.
Regardless of what point of view they developed, essays that satisfied the Subject A requirement had to do more than summarize what Kluckhohn wrote. They have been chosen to represent different approaches to the essay topic, as well as to suggest the range of strengths and weaknesses in essays at each scoring level.
As their contents show, essays by both native and non-native speakers of English are to be found at all six scoring levels. The third essay at each scoring level is definitely by a non-native speaker of English; other essays, 5 for example, may be by non-native speakers as well.
The comment on each essay explains why it does or does not meet the Subject A standard of competence. Following the pattern of the scoring guide, each comment discusses first how effectively each writer responds to Kluckhohn's ideas, then the extent to which the essay demonstrates a control of written English suitable for students entering the University.
Taken together, the essays and comments should make clear that essays satisfying the Subject A requirement can use a wide variety of organizational patterns and almost unlimited sources of information. They can present a wide variety of viewpoints about the issue raised in the passage and pinpointed by the topic, but they must remain focused on that issue and develop a reasoned response to the passage.
Read carefully the passage and the essay topic. Respond to the topic by writing an essay that is controlled by a central idea and is specifically developed. You will have two hours to read the passage and to complete your essay. You may underline the passage and make marginal notes as you read.
Plan your essay before you begin writing, using the "Notes" side of the blue Information Sheet. Allow time to review and proofread your essay and to make any revisions or corrections you wish.
Your essay will be evaluated on the basis of your ability to develop your central idea, to express yourself clearly, and to use the conventions of written English.
The topic has no "correct" response. Writing that appears on the "Notes" page will not be read.
How does Kluckhohn explain the differences and similarities among the world's peoples? What do you think about his views? Use examples from your own experience, reading or observation in developing your essay.The right brain is the root of emotions, intuition and visualization. You can encourage your brain to explore its creative side through activities that stimulate these processes.
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