Example: Directive Commentary

Example: Directive Commentary

Affirmative Action laws were designed to make up for America's enslavement and centuries of oppression [Avoid inflammatory language.] of Black people [African Americans]. They were correcting [corrective] laws, the aim of which were [was] to eliminate injustice. But [However] in the end, new injustices have been created by these laws. The most harmful of which is the inability of qualified students to pursue their dreams and get into the really important professional schools, like medicine and law. [Fragment.] Why is race relevant to who makes a good doctor or lawyer? And how do we even measure merit? Is part of that measurement race? Where do we put it in the mix when we are considering whether you're good enough for graduate school? [Too many questions in a row. Turn some into statements.] Is it more important than the standardized exams, professor recommendations and GPA - all of which, in the end, are just as prejudiced [subjective]? After all, a man isn't measured by tests or by the color of his skin. In the end, all measurements of a person are flawed. But [However,] none are more flawed than the measurement of a person by their [his] race. [Affirmative Action laws have nothing to do with measuring merit.]

Nowadays, kids [applicants] trying to get into professional schools should understand that the GREs [,] and LSATs [,] and MCATs [,] and other standardized tests aren't a good way to test how smart you are or even ability. [Faulty parallelism.] Minorities themselves complain that these tests are biased against them. What do these tests measure except an ability to take a test? Steven Lobrawski argues that they measure how predictable a thinker will be. Moreover, Susan Worbal [Provide context for references and cite sources.] notes that lower test scores by minority applicants are accepted over higher scores by majority applicants. If scores can be overlooked for minorities, why can't they be overlooked for majorities? Is the importance of race greater than the importance of test scores? Is your success as a lawyer or doctor predicted by them? [You rely too much on rhetorical questions.]

Professor recommendations are also unfair. [The topic sentence talks about professor recommendations, but then you shift to GPA's. Either make two paragraphs or write a more accurate topic sentence.] Why should a professor's opinion get you in or keep you out of the school? Aren't professors as prejudice [d] as anyone? Their subjectivity isn't nearly as objective as standardized scores. So why are they so important anyway? Some students aren't even able to get to know their professors well - usually because the professor is never at his office hours, or because the student has too much integrity to kiss up [Slang.] to the professor. The same is true about GPAs. Should one bad term where a student had a personal crisis or an adjustment problem haunt him forever? Should this kind of mistake be able to keep him from realizing his dream? Affirmative action allows students who have had difficult upbringings to make up for it. Are other students given the chance to make up for his own problems? Is this fair? [Stop with the questions.]

Anyhow, affirmative action is like beating a dead horse. [This simile makes no sense.] And its [it's] caused more injustices than its [it's] fixed. Its [It's] not fair to minorities and women, who feel like they don't really deserve to be where they are, and it's unfair to whites [,] who are rejected from law school and denied their dreams. Schools should find more fair ways to admit students.

Response to Student

[Your essay does not take a clear or coherent position on affirmative action. Instead, you digress to a discussion of merit and how to measure it. You need to make the point that affirmative action undermines the idea of success based on merit - if, indeed, this is your belief.

You must consider the position that proponents of affirmative action might take. In particular, consider the notions of success and merit, and the ways in which these are culturally (and perhaps unfairly) created. Then refute the argument, presenting your evidence.

Also, reconsider your use of rhetorical questions. You rely on them to the point that you never declare yourself. Answer some of your questions, and you'll have the seeds of your argument.

Finally, your essay has several grammatical errors. Correct them.]