Thank you, Matthew, for one of the clearest descriptions of the changes to the ACT writing section I’ve read. The example you gave was very clarifying and the suggestions you offer about how to improve your score are very helpful. I have to say (as an educational consultant who works with college-bound students) the amount of analysis, planning, and writing required seems daunting. Do you think this essay question format is considerably more challenging than the previous ACT essay format? Than the new SAT essay format?
Funding is not the only factor that limits research. In fact adequate time is also a requirement for research. Where the student: faculty ratio is large (that is a large student population compared to the number of professors), professors have little time to engage in research. This is because the professor spends most of his or her time meeting with students who need assistance and the rest of the time for marking/grading papers. To partially alleviate the situation so as to be able to create some time for research, I recommend the following: first, conditions should be created such that professors teach continuously and intensively for at most two semesters and then the third semester is devoted to intensive research – that is, alternating two semesters of teaching and one semester of research. Second, I recommend that we de-emphasize the essay question format. This is because the essay question format usually requires the experience and knowledge of only the lecturer to mark/grade and can involve a great deal of time if it is to be done objectively, whereas other formats like multiple -answer question could be graded by the Teaching Assistants (TAs). Thus, in any examination we can limit the essay-type questions to about 50 % or less, the professor then provides answer keys for the rest so that TAs can mark/ grade them.
Have you ever used the essay question format
It should be mentioned that all exams were also administered on WebCT in an electronic classroom. All exams utilized an essay question format, with six to eight essay questions per exam. Secure browser technology was used to administer the exam on WebCT, which prevents the student from accessing the Internet or other programs and from using the printer and screen capture functions. Once completed, the exams were automatically e-mailed to the course director, who forwarded them to the faculty for grading. Both on-line WebCT and hand grading was used, depending on the preference of the individual faculty member. The use of WebCT for the exams eliminated the problem of undecipherable handwriting that can occur in written exams. One limitation of the WebCT for exam administration is the lack of a drawing tool for students, which was circumvented by having the students place drawings (flow diagrams, etc.) on sheets of paper, which were submitted as a supplement to the electronic exam answers.