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The essay you will write is on the following topic: What are the aims of academic study and how can they be achieved? Read texts below and identify information which is relevant to the title of your essay. Decide which of your ideas you are going to use in your essay. a) to help you, ask yourself these questions about your readers: What knowledge about academic study do they already have? What do you think they are interested in reading about in your essay? b) Organise your ideas into a logical order in a plan. Think carefully about the order in which you will arrange the paragraphs.

THE INFLUENCE OF CLASS SIZE ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Education is a pillar of modern society and the subject of endless, often passionate arguments about how it can best be improved. In the U.S., there is heated debate following revelations that the country's secondary school students perform poorly relative to many Asian and European students. The news coincided with increasing concern over the nation's urban and lower-income suburban schools, too, many of which are languishing at achievement levels far below those of middle-class and upper middle-class suburban schools. Of all the ideas for improving education, few are as simple or attractive as reducing the number of pupils per teacher. With its uncomplicated appeal and lack of a big, powerful group of opponents, class-size reduction has lately developed from a subject of primarily academic interest to a key political issue. In the United States, more than 20 states and the federal government have adopted policies aimed at decreasing class sizes, and billions of dollars have been spent or committed in the past few years. The demand for smaller classes is also growing in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and even Japan, whose record of secondary school performance is the envy of most other developed countries. The most obvious drawback to class-size reduction is the huge...

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