Extended Response: Example 2

Extended Response: Example 2

Basics
The second section of Reasoning Through Language Arts evaluates your ability to integrate reading and writing by way of a 45-minute Extended Response. GED guidelines specify that you will be asked to write an essay about the best-supported position—the most persuasive side of an argument—presented in two passages with opposing points of view.  Accordingly, you will need to produce evidence supporting the most convincing position from either Passage I or Passage II.  Attention to specific details within the passages will help you find the necessary pieces of evidence.

GED.com has excellent resources to help prepare for the Extended Response as follows:
poster
videos
guidelines – english
guidelines – spanish
quick tips – english
quick tips – spanish
practice passages – english
practice passages – spanish

Here, at HowtoPasstheGED.com, a five-paragraph essay will be used as a framework for writing an Extended Response.

Five-Paragraph Essay – Outline
Paragraph 1:  Introduction of your position with three supporting points.
Paragraph 2:  Discussion of first point.
Paragraph 3:  Discussion of second point.
Paragraph 4:  Discussion of third point.
Paragraph 5:  Summary and Conclusion of your position and its three supporting points.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Choose (Before You Write)
• Read Passage I and Passage II.
• Choose the best-supported position.
• Select three points supporting this position.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Beginner Level (You’re Up and Running!)
• Write the first sentence of each of the five paragraphs.
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, put down the first point.
• In paragraph 3, put down the second point.
• In paragraph 4, put down the third point.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Intermediate Level (You’re Adding On!)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Advanced Level (Polish Your Essay If You Have Time)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.

The example below goes over the process of writing a five-paragraph essay as an Extended Response to Passage I versus Passage II.

Passage I
Investing in Infrastructure is Wise

America has long found it wise to invest in infrastructure, the fundamental facilities and systems serving the country.

According to Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, “it opened up the entire country,” changing the way people and products moved (from animal to machine). The wave of projects that created modern sewage and water systems in urban areas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries left a lasting mark, providing reliable, clean water in cities and extracting pollution from sewage. Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, considers this water infrastructure project “probably the most effective public health effort in the history of the United States.” Another transformation occurred in 1936, when Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act, extending electricity into rural areas for the first time. Later, in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which authorized the building of 41,000 miles of interstate highways—the largest American public works program in history at the time. Most would agree that construction of the interstate highway system changed America in ways that greatly contributed to economic prosperity.

However, as per the ASCE, the 2021 grade for America’s energy, waste water, drinking water, aviation, roads, bridges, dams, and rail systems is a low C, “essentially the lowest passing grade possible,” indicating serious problems.

President Joe Biden has made infrastructure funding a signature piece of his agenda. In August 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that focuses on transportation, utilities (including high-speed internet for rural communities), and pollution cleanup. The proposal, which would be the largest federal investment in infrastructure in more than a decade, must still pass in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, not investing in infrastructure is costly. With no further investment between now and 2039, Americans will lose on average $3,300 per year for expenses related to fixing cars from potholes or wasting gas while stuck in traffic or resorting to generators rather than freezing when electricity fails or buying bottled water when water lines break.
adapted from VOA (10/01/2021, 10/21//2021)

Passage II
Investing in Infrastructure is Tricky

America has long found it tricky to invest in infrastructure, the fundamental facilities and systems serving the country.

According to Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, “Native Americans ended up paying the price,” losing huge amounts of land. Although they were intended to raise the standard of living for everybody in the West, the railroads didn’t necessarily do so, particularly with respect to the people who were then known as Indians. The railroads also took government money and then went bankrupt, but not before creating some of the greatest, most corrupt fortunes in American history. Professor White adds that the interstate highway system also came at great cost, “increasing racial stratification in cities,” because the highways were built in such a way that they went through poor minority neighborhoods, walling them off from the city as a whole. By setting those neighborhoods apart, the highways caused side effects from which society still suffers.

Professor White notes that nobody wants “bridges to fall into rivers” or roads to go unrepaired, but the $1 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by President Joe Biden is mostly backward-looking; the proposal’s $65 billion provision for rural broadband is its only forward-looking, transformative feature. According to Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “broadband has had a tremendous impact on our lives; without a broadband system, our ability to economically survive COVID would have been difficult.” If broadband is brought into rural areas, says DiLoreto, “it could have the same kind of consequences that rural electrification had in terms of education and lightening people’s workload and allowing them to do the kinds of work they otherwise couldn’t do.”

Meanwhile, much of the proposed infrastructure spending could easily go to waste trying to protect coastal areas doomed to flooding due to rising sea levels and fire-prone areas out West doomed to burn, both due to global warming brought about by climate change.
adapted from VOA (10/01/2021, 10/21//2021)


Prompt

Passage I considers investment in America’s infrastructure to be wise, while Passage II considers such investment to be tricky. In your response, analyze the positions presented in Passage I and Passage II to determine which passage is best supported. Use relevant and specific evidence to back your choice. You have 45 minutes to plan, type, and edit your response.

Five-Paragraph Essay – Outline
Paragraph 1:  Introduction of your position with three supporting points.
Paragraph 2:  Discussion of first point.
Paragraph 3:  Discussion of second point.
Paragraph 4:  Discussion of third point.
Paragraph 5:  Summary and Conclusion of your position and its three supporting points.

Five-Paragraph Essay – Choose (Before You Write)
• Read Passage I and Passage II.

• Choose the best-supported position.
In this example, Passage I is chosen as the best-supported position.

• Select three points supporting this position.
(1) Past infrastructure investment has paid off.
(2) New infrastructure investment is needed now.
(3) Without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.

Five-Paragraph Essay – Beginner Level (You’re Up and Running!)
• Write the first sentence of each of the five paragraphs.
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, put down the first point.
• In paragraph 3, put down the second point.
• In paragraph 4, put down the third point.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points.

Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.

Past infrastructure investment has paid off.

New infrastructure investment is needed now.

Without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.

In summary, Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Intermediate Level (You’re Adding On!)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.

Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.

Past infrastructure investment has paid off. Passage I begins with the important observation that the completion of the transcontinental railroad opened up the country in 1869. More importantly, water infrastructure investment at the turn of the century greatly improved public health. Even Passage II admits that nobody wants bridges to fall.

New infrastructure investment is needed now. Passage I smartly cites history when it says it has been a long time since the last investment in infrastructure, which authorized the building of interstate highways. Beyond that, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America’s current infrastructure a low grade. Here again Passage II agrees that repairs need to be made for things like roads.

Without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future. Between now and 2039, Passage I convincingly warns that Americans will lose on average $3,300 per year for expenses related to infrastructure that isn’t fixed. Although Passage II doesn’t seem to be enthusiastic about infrastructure investment, even it comes out in favor of new broadband infrastructure being brought to rural areas.

In summary, Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future. In conclusion, infrastructure investment wisely looks to the future.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Advanced Level (Polish Your Essay If You Have Time)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.

Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future.

Past infrastructure investment has paid off. Passage I gets off to a strong start by citing the expert opinion of Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), who states the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 “opened up the entire country,” changing the way people and products moved (from animal to machine). Another cited expert, Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, goes on to say that water infrastructure investment at the turn of the twentieth century was “probably the most effective public health effort in the history of the United States.” Although Professor White has some concerns about past infrastructure projects in Passage II, he admits that nobody wants “bridges to fall into rivers.”

New infrastructure investment is needed now. Passage I cleverly invokes history when it observes that it has been a long time since the last famous investment in infrastructure, namely the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which authorized the building of 41,000 miles of interstate highways, in 1956. Then it brings up current circumstances in the form of the ASCE’s 2021 low-C grade for America’s energy, waste water, drinking water, aviation, roads, bridges, dams, and rail systems, indicating serious problems. Even as he states his misgivings about the interstate highway system in Passage II, Professor White acknowledges that such basic infrastructure as roads should not fall into disrepair.

Without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future. With no further investment between now and 2039, Passage I convincingly warns that Americans will lose on average $3,300 per year for expenses related to fixing cars from potholes or wasting gas while stuck in traffic or resorting to generators rather than freezing when electricity fails or buying bottled water when water lines break. Although he, like Professor White, feels uneasy about backward-looking infrastructure spending, the ASCE’s DiLoreto concedes in Passage II that if the proposed broadband infrastructure investment is brought into rural areas, “it could have the same kind of consequences that rural electrification had in terms of education and lightening people’s workload and allowing them to do the kinds of work they otherwise couldn’t do.”

In summary, Passage I is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has paid off, new infrastructure investment is needed now, and, without new infrastructure investment, people will pay far into the future. In particular, Passage I leads to the conclusion that infrastructure investment is incredibly wise, because it protects the public’s physical health in the present while strengthening the public’s financial health in the future.

Remember, the RLA Extended Response is based on what YOU determine to be the best-supported position presented in either Passage I or Passage II.

In order to demonstrate that YOU have room to maneuver, the example below goes over the process of writing a five-paragraph essay as an Extended Response to Passage I versus Passage II with a different choice.

Passage I
Investing in Infrastructure is Wise

America has long found it wise to invest in infrastructure, the fundamental facilities and systems serving the country.

According to Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, “it opened up the entire country,” changing the way people and products moved (from animal to machine). The wave of projects that created modern sewage and water systems in urban areas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries left a lasting mark, providing reliable, clean water in cities and extracting pollution from sewage. Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, considers this water infrastructure project “probably the most effective public health effort in the history of the United States.” Another transformation occurred in 1936, when Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act, extending electricity into rural areas for the first time. Later, in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which authorized the building of 41,000 miles of interstate highways—the largest American public works program in history at the time. Most would agree that construction of the interstate highway system changed America in ways that greatly contributed to economic prosperity.

However, as per the ASCE, the 2021 grade for America’s energy, waste water, drinking water, aviation, roads, bridges, dams, and rail systems is a low C, “essentially the lowest passing grade possible,” indicating serious problems.

President Joe Biden has made infrastructure funding a signature piece of his agenda. In August 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that focuses on transportation, utilities (including high-speed internet for rural communities), and pollution cleanup. The proposal, which would be the largest federal investment in infrastructure in more than a decade, must still pass in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, not investing in infrastructure is costly. With no further investment between now and 2039, Americans will lose on average $3,300 per year for expenses related to fixing cars from potholes or wasting gas while stuck in traffic or resorting to generators rather than freezing when electricity fails or buying bottled water when water lines break.
adapted from VOA (10/01/2021, 10/21//2021)

 

Passage II
Investing in Infrastructure is Tricky

America has long found it tricky to invest in infrastructure, the fundamental facilities and systems serving the country.

According to Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, “Native Americans ended up paying the price,” losing huge amounts of land. Although they were intended to raise the standard of living for everybody in the West, the railroads didn’t necessarily do so, particularly with respect to the people who were then known as Indians. The railroads also took government money and then went bankrupt, but not before creating some of the greatest, most corrupt fortunes in American history. Professor White adds that the interstate highway system also came at great cost, “increasing racial stratification in cities,” because the highways were built in such a way that they went through poor minority neighborhoods, walling them off from the city as a whole. By setting those neighborhoods apart, the highways caused side effects from which society still suffers.

Professor White notes that nobody wants “bridges to fall into rivers” or roads to go unrepaired, but the $1 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by President Joe Biden is mostly backward-looking; the proposal’s $65 billion provision for rural broadband is its only forward-looking, transformative feature. According to Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “broadband has had a tremendous impact on our lives; without a broadband system, our ability to economically survive COVID would have been difficult.” If broadband is brought into rural areas, says DiLoreto, “it could have the same kind of consequences that rural electrification had in terms of education and lightening people’s workload and allowing them to do the kinds of work they otherwise couldn’t do.”

Meanwhile, much of the proposed infrastructure spending could easily go to waste trying to protect coastal areas doomed to flooding due to rising sea levels and fire-prone areas out West doomed to burn, both due to global warming brought about by climate change.
adapted from VOA (10/01/2021, 10/21//2021)

Prompt
Passage I considers investment in America’s infrastructure to be wise, while Passage II considers such investment to be tricky. In your response, analyze the positions presented in Passage I and Passage II to determine which passage is best supported. Use relevant and specific evidence to back your choice. You have 45 minutes to plan, type, and edit your response.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Outline
Paragraph 1:  Introduction of your position with three supporting points.
Paragraph 2:  Discussion of first point.
Paragraph 3:  Discussion of second point.
Paragraph 4:  Discussion of third point.
Paragraph 5:  Summary and Conclusion of your position and its three supporting points.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Choose (Before You Write)
• Read Passage I and Passage II.

• Choose the best-supported position.
In this example, Passage II is chosen as the best-supported position.

• Select three points supporting this position.
(1) Past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off.
(2) New infrastructure investment is not forward-looking.
(3) New infrastructure investment could be wasteful.

 

Five-Paragraph Essay – Beginner Level (You’re Up and Running!)
• Write the first sentence of each of the five paragraphs.
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, put down the first point.
• In paragraph 3, put down the second point.
• In paragraph 4, put down the third point.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points.

Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful.

Past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off.

New infrastructure investment is not forward-looking.

New infrastructure investment could be wasteful.

In summary, Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Intermediate Level (You’re Adding On!)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.

Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful.

Past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off. Backed by facts, Passage II convincingly argues that when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, Native Americans lost huge amounts of land. Later, the interstate highway system was built in such a way that it went through poor neighborhoods. Although Passage I notes that the railroads and highways helped move things, these projects hurt Native Americans and poor city people.

New infrastructure investment is not forward-looking. Passage II smartly observes that the proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan is mostly backward-looking. Yes, repairs are needed. However, Passage I barely mentions a forward-looking investment in the form of rural broadband.

New infrastructure investment could be wasteful. Passage II uses sound reasoning when it says much of the proposed infrastructure spending could easily go to waste trying to protect flood-prone and fire-prone areas. Global warming and climate change would see to that. Passage I has no answer to the prospect of such wasteful government spending.

In summary, Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful. In conclusion, Passage II shows how infrastructure is both tricky and costly.


Five-Paragraph Essay – Advanced Level (Polish Your Essay If You Have Time)
• In paragraph 1, introduce your position and its three supporting points.
• In paragraph 2, write at least three sentences about the first point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 3, write at least three sentences about the second point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 4, write at least three sentences about the third point, including mentioning something from the other side.
• In paragraph 5, restate your position and its three supporting points, including coming to a conclusion about them.

Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful.

Past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off. Passage II gets off to a strong start by citing the expert opinion of Richard White, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, who recalls that when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, Native Americans lost huge amounts of land. The railroads also took government money and then went bankrupt, but not before creating some of the greatest, most corrupt fortunes in American history. Professor White then adds that the interstate highway system increased “racial stratification in cities,” because the highways were built in such a way that they went through poor minority neighborhoods, walling them off from the city as a whole. Although Passage I notes that the railroads and highways helped move people and products, these projects came at a heavy price by hurting Native Americans and poor urban minorities.

New infrastructure investment is not forward-looking. In Passage II, Professor White points out that the $1 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by President Joe Biden is mostly backward-looking. Even as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in Passage I gives America’s old infrastructure (energy, waste water, drinking water, aviation, roads, bridges, dams, and rail systems) a low grade, the ASCE’s past president Greg DiLoreto agrees with Professor White that only the $65 billion from the plan earmarked for rural broadband has the potential to be forward-looking and transformative, potentially improving lives “in terms of education and lightening people’s workload and allowing them to do the kinds of work they otherwise couldn’t do.”

New infrastructure investment could be wasteful. Passage II uses plain old common sense to deliver the message that “much of the proposed infrastructure spending could easily go to waste trying to protect coastal areas doomed to flooding due to rising sea levels and fire-prone areas out West doomed to burn, both due to global warming brought about by climate change.” Passage I has no answer to the prospect of such wasteful government spending.

In summary, Passage II is the best-supported position because past infrastructure investment has not necessarily paid off, new infrastructure investment is not forward-looking, and new infrastructure investment could be wasteful. In particular, Passage II leads to the conclusion that infrastructure investment is incredibly tricky, because it might try to protect the wrong projects from the past while not championing the right projects for the future.

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