Quiz Up Achievement Topics For Persuasive Essays

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It's pretty scary to walk into a room on ACT test day and not know anything about the essay question you're about to answer. Luckily, you don't have to—the ACT essay prompts only ask about a teensy, tiny category of ideas. And the best part is, you already know all about it!

Keep reading to see sample ACT Writing prompts you can practice with. More importantly, we also teach you how to gather evidence before the test so you can walk in 100% prepared to answer any prompt they give you.

 

6 Sample ACT Essay Prompts

The idea behind the ACT essay is that it's a fair test of everyone's writing ability because nobody knows the topic or question before the test. In order for this to be true, the ACT actually has to choose from a pretty small sliver of questions (since the topics must be broad enough that all test takers can write about them).

See for yourself: here are the two free and publicly available official ACT Writing prompts. Do you notice any common threads?

1. Intelligent Machines (source: ACT.org )

Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.

Perspective One: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.

Perspective Two: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans.  This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Perspective Three: Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines.

 

2. Public Health and Individual Freedom (source: ACT.org )

Most people want to be healthy, and most people want as much freedom as possible to do the things they want. Unfortunately, these two desires sometimes conflict. For example, smoking is prohibited from most public places, which restricts the freedom of some individuals for the sake of the health of others. Likewise, car emissions are regulated in many areas in order to reduce pollution and its health risks to others, which in turn restricts some people’s freedom to drive the vehicles they want. In a society that values both health and freedom, how do we best balance the two? How should we think about conflicts between public health and individual freedom?

Perspective One: Our society should strive to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When the freedom of the individual interferes with that principle, freedom must be restricted.

Perspective Two: Nothing in society is more valuable than freedom. Perhaps physical health is sometimes improved by restricting freedom, but the cost to the health of our free society is far too great to justify it.

Perspective Three: The right to avoid health risks is a freedom, too. When we allow individual behavior to endanger others, we’ve damaged both freedom and health.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the conflict between public health and individual freedom.

 

Here are four other prompts that I have constructed, based on the core question and core perspectives I extracted from the official prompts (if you're curious about how I constructed these prompts, check out our article on how to attack ACT Writing prompts):

3. Globalization

Many of the goods and services we depend on daily have global sources. Where once you might speak with a customer service representative from across the country about your computer problems, your call now would most likely be routed across the world. In one grocery store, it can be possible to find a mixture of foods from multiple continents. Various pieces of culture can be instantaneously broadcast around the world via the Internet, enabling shared experiences among people of disparate geographic origins. Globalization is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what happens when we replace local interactions with global ones? Given the accelerating rate of globalization, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of its presence in our lives.

Perspective One: Globalization requires a shift in the way we think about other people, other societies, and the world. This is good, because it will push humanity towards previously unimaginable possibilities and achievements.

Perspective Two: Removing geographic boundaries from commerce means that the right people can be chosen for the right jobs at the right price. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Perspective Three: The flourishing of a new, global society comes at the cost of local cultures. Less diversity leads to deficits in empathy and creativity, two of the most defining characteristics of humanity.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of globalization.

 

4. Information Accessibility

At this moment in time, there is more information more readily available to more people than ever before. Smartphones can instantly provide directions to your destination, when even 10 years ago you had to look up directions before you left and/or bring along a map. Researchers from all over the world are able to pool their knowledge to advance their fields more quickly. Many libraries have broadened their collections to include subscriptions to online/electronic databases as well as printed works. Greater access to information is generally seen as a positive advance, but what are the consequences of making so much knowledge available to so many people? Based upon the ever-increasing amount of information in the world and the ever-broader access to it, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of easy access to information in our lives.

Perspective One: With increased ease of access to information, we lose the incentive to gain knowledge ourselves. By outsourcing our memories of facts and other information, we are becoming less intelligent.

Perspective Two: Greater access to information allows us to avoid memorizing facts and, instead, use our brains for higher-level thinking. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Perspective Three: The more people who have access to more information, the greater the chances of collaboration and thus further advances in human knowledge. This is good because it pushes us toward new, unimagined possibilities.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing accessibility of information.

 

5. Novelty

In the world today, newness is highly valued. Social media apps constantly update to make sure you’re shown the newest information or posts from those you follow. Many of the products we purchase today are purposefully created with short lifespans to encourage consumers to continue to get the newest, up-to-date versions. Subscription services for music and video make it possible to continuously listen to and watch new media. Novelty is generally seen as a positive characteristic, but what are we losing by constantly focusing on the new? Given its increasing prevalence, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of the growing emphasis on novelty in our lives.

Perspective One: Change is the only constant in life, and to ignore this is to grow rigid and stagnate.  More exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking can only lead to progress for society and for humanity as a whole.

Perspective Two: By exclusively focusing on the new, we lose sight of what we already know. Instead of ignoring the old, we should be focusing more past accomplishments and errors. The only way to move forward is to heed the lessons of the past.

Perspective Three: Information, products, and ways of thinking should only be valued if they are useful and reliable, not just because they are new and exciting. New does not automatically equal improved.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing value assigned to novelty.

 

6. Job Changes

Fewer and fewer people are staying with the same job their entire lives. In the United States, the average person will switch jobs more than 10 times in over the course of his/her life. Some workers will make lateral, or even downward, moves in order to increase personal fulfillment. Others switch jobs in an effort to obtain the highest possible salary. Increasing personal autonomy is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what happens when length of experience is replaced with variety of experience? As the number of jobs people will hold over the course of their lives continues to climb, it is important to examine the implications and meaning of this trend for our lives.

Perspective One: Because jobs are no longer a lifetime commitment, people will feel freer to accept a greater variety of positions. This increase in breadth of experience will in turn make job applicants more attractive to future employers.

Perspective Two: As the frequency with which people change jobs increases, the loyalty of people to their employers will decrease. This in turn will lead to more fractured company cultures, as employees will only care about what’s best for them.

Perspective Three: The disappearance of the stigma associated with frequent job switching will allow employees more leeway with employment decisions. Increased autonomy will lead to increased happiness and job satisfaction.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing frequency with which people switch jobs.

 

For additional Writing Prompts to practice with, you also might want to consider purchasing the Official ACT Prep Guide 2016-2017, which includes 3 additional official essay prompts.

 

There is in fact only one ACT Writing Prompt (and three types of perspectives) you have to know. We call them the Core Question and Core Perspectives. This question (and these perspectives) will run through every and all ACT Essay prompts you'll get.

 

The Reasoning Behind The Core Question

As you can see, all the ACT writing prompts are about how the world (and the people in it) is (are) changing. All of them boil down to the following question:

"What are your views on how humans are changing the world?"

or, even more broadly,

"What do you think about the way the world is changing?"

The ACT has chosen to frame its prompts this way because ACT, Inc. wants to choose essay topics that all students can have an opinion on, rather than asking about something extremely specific for which some students are more prepared than others.

 

First Global Image from VIIRS by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, used under CC BY 2.0/Resized from original.

 

Read through the two official prompts again (above). Rather than asking about high school life (as the old ACT Writing prompts did), the prompt now asks students to consider how changes in the world today affect all humanity, forcing the students to place the issue in a broader context. While the topics may appear to be highly specific at first glance (e.g. "intelligent machines"), the explanatory paragraphs for each prompt make it clear that the topics can be parlayed in a number of different directions (and be accessible to most people). This means there won't be prompts about issues that mainly affect urban dwellers (e.g. subways), or only affect certain geographic areas (e.g. snow preparedness). Similarly, something like "smartphones," for instance, would never be a topic on its own; rather, it would be an example that could be used for the topic (as in the "intelligent machines" prompt).

It really helps to have strong opinions about this core question, "What do you think about the way humans are changing the world?" but if you don't, no problem: it's easy to develop opinions! And we're here to give you a head start. In the next section, we're going to give you some basic opinions around the core ACT essay question, how to apply them to specific prompts, and even online research to support them!

 

The Reasoning Behind The Core Perspectives

As you can see above, the new ACT prompt has three different perspectives that you need to discuss during the course of your essay. To figure out the three core perspectives, I read and re-read the perspectives for both of the official prompts, considering them in light of the informational paragraphs that preceded them.

Core Perspective A: The changes caused by [Prompt topic] are not good and have negative results.

This perspective maps onto Perspective 1 of the first official ACT sample prompt above or Perspective 2 of the second official sample prompt. My nickname for this position is "conservatism," since this perspective wishes to be conservative and not change things.

Core Perspective B: The changes caused by [Prompt topic] will lead to greater efficiency.

This perspective maps onto Perspective 2 of the first official ACT sample prompt above or Perspective 1 of the second official sample prompt. My nickname for this position is "utilitarianism," since this perspective is all about what will be more practical and lead to the greatest good for the greatest number of people (this is even explicitly spelled out in Perspective 1 of the second official sample prompt).

Core Perspective C: The changes caused by [Prompt topic] will yield positive future results because it will lead to improvements for all humanity.

This perspective maps onto Perspective 3 of the first official ACT sample prompt above or Perspective 3 of the second official sample prompt. My nickname for this position is "progressivism," since this perspective argues that change = progress = good.

 

Building a Support Bank

Now you know that the ACT essay will only ever ask you to discuss one question: "How is the world changing?" If you prepare for this question with diverse evidence before the test, you'll be ready to answer the prompt no matter what it is. To give yourself the most time to write and organize your argument, your thesis should match up with one of the three perspectives given — that way, you won't have to take the time come up with a fourth, completely new perspective and compare it to at least one the three perspectives the ACT provides.

But it gets better! The internet (and society in general) is chock-full of theories and arguments about how the world is changing, and whether or not that's a good thing.  All you have to do is read up on some of them and develop your own opinions.

 

 

Opinions on the World

Your ACT essay thesis should basically be one of the three perspectives, but you have to support that yes or no with another opinion - the answer to the question "why?" (or "why not"?). Look over these sets of three opinions and try to think of reasons or examples to support each.

The world is changing to be worse than it was before. (because...)

The world is changing to be better than it was before. (because...)

The world is changing to be more efficient than ever before. (because...)

 

 

Research and Brainstorming Ideas

Unlike with the SAT essay, you can use abstract reasoning to develop your point on the ACT. This means that you don't necessarily have to come to the test pre-loaded with specific examples: if you can't think of a concrete example that will support your point, you can make one up as you go along while constructing your argument.

Now we'll look over a few sample internet resources that could serve as support (or brainstorming assistance) for the opinions above. You can use the general ideas from these resources, but you may also find some useful specific examples for when you face your real ACT writing prompt.

News sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Al Jazeera, Time, The Atlantic, Slate, The Economist, Wired, New York Magazine, Popular Science, Psychology Today, Vox, Mic, and even Buzzfeed will have information about current events that you can use.

If you prefer listening/watching the news, you can always try that as a source of current events information as well watching or listening to television, radio, or podcasts.

 

So How Do I Use This Information?

Just knowing what the ACT Writing prompts are likely to be about may lead you to think about the way you interact with the world somewhat differently. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for anything that could be fodder to answer a question about the way the world is changing - anything you learn about in history/social studies, read/hear about in the news, or even encounter in a futuristic novel can be added to your support bank.

But, of course, the more effective way to use the information in this article is to practice both planning and writing ACT essays. We have another post with ACT essay tips, which can give you more information on how to practice the actual writing process, but knowing about the prompt types can get you thinking about your own opinions on how the world is changing. After all, you're being asked about this because you have a lot of experience with it, living in the world as you do (unless you are a ghost and don't live in this world, in which case, why are you taking the ACT?).

So, using the prompts at the beginning of this article, or another group of questions about issues having to do with change (some items on this list of debate topics, for example), start planning hypothetical writing ACT essay responses. Try reading my step-by-step ACT essay example if you're stumped about where to begin.

For each issue, planning involves picking a side, supporting it with one to two reasons or examples, and deciding how to discuss at least one of the other given perspectives in relation to the one you've picked (including arguments both for and against the other perspectives). If you really want to max out your ACT essay score, you should practice planning essays about how the world is changing until you can do it in 8-10 minutes reliably. If you're curious about where that 8-10 minute estimate comes from, check out our ACT essay tips article.

 

What's Next?

Check out our comprehensive collection of ACT Writing guides, including a detailed analysis of the ACT Writing Rubric that includes explanations and strategies and our explanation of the differences between the old and new ACT Writing Test.

Find outhow to get a perfect score on ACT Writing.

Follow along as I construct a top-scoring essay step-by-step, or check out our list of tips to raise your ACT Writing score.

 

Want to improve your ACT score by 4+ points? Download our free guide to the top 5 strategies you need in your prep to improve your ACT score dramatically.

 

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”

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If anything ever published on The Learning Network could be said to have “gone viral,” it is last February’s “200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” which we created to help teachers and students participate in our inaugural Student Editorial Contest.

We’ve now updated last year’s list with new questions and what we hope is more useful categorization.

So scroll through the 301 prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from politics to sports, culture, education and technology — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information.

What issues do you care about most? Find something to write about here, or post a comment if you think we’ve missed a topic you would like to see us cover.

And if these 301 questions aren’t enough, the Room for Debate blog provides many, many more.


    TECHNOLOGY

    Technology

  1. Does Technology Make Us More Alone?
  2. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  3. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  4. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smartphones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  5. Will Wearable Technology Ever Really Catch On?
  6. Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to Be Meaningful?
  7. Do You Worry We Are Filming Too Much?
  8. Would You Want a Pair of Google’s Computer Glasses?
  9. What Role Will Robots Play in Our Future?
  10. How Many Text Messages Are Too Many?

  11. Internet and Social Media

  12. Has Facebook Lost Its Edge?
  13. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  14. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  15. Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds for Getting Fired?
  16. Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online?
  17. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?

  18. Technology in Schools

  19. Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?
  20. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?
  21. Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class?
  22. Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?
  23. Should Computer Games Be Used for Classroom Instruction?
  24. Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?
  25. How Would You Feel About a Computer Grading Your Essays?

  26. ART, FILM, BOOKS, VIDEO GAMES AND OTHER MEDIA

    Movies, TV and Theater

  27. Is TV Stronger Than Ever, or Becoming Obsolete?
  28. Do TV Shows Like ‘16 and Pregnant’ Promote or Discourage Teenage Pregnancy?
  29. Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes?
  30. Does TV Capture the Diversity of America Yet?
  31. Is TV Too White?
  32. Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies?
  33. What Makes a Good TV Show Finale?
  34. What Makes a Good Commercial?
  35. Why Did a Cheerios Ad Attract So Many Angry Comments Online?
  36. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  37. Does Live Theater Offer Something You Just Can’t Get Watching Movies or TV?

  38. Music

  39. What Can You Predict About the Future of the Music Industry?
  40. What Current Musicians Do You Think Will Stand the Test of Time?
  41. What Artists or Bands of Today Are Destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
  42. What Artists Do You Consider ‘Sellouts’?
  43. What Musician, Actor or Author Should Be a Superstar, but Hasn’t Quite Made It Yet?
  44. Who Does Hip-Hop Belong To?
  45. Will Musical Training Make You More Successful?

  46. Video Games

  47. Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport?
  48. Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors?
  49. Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life?
  50. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  51. Can a Video Game Be a Work of Art?
  52. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  53. How Sexist Is the Gaming World?

  54. Literature

  55. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  56. Does Reading a Book Count More Than Listening to One?
  57. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  58. Who Are the Characters That Authors Should Be Writing About?
  59. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?

  60. Art

  61. Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art?
  62. Do We Need Art in Our Lives?
  63. Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study?
  64. Where Is the Line Between Truth and Fiction?
  65. Should Society Support Artists and Others Pursuing Creative Works?

  66. GENDER AND RELATIONSHIPS

    Gender Issues

  67. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  68. Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys?
  69. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  70. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  71. Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?
  72. Doctored Photos: O.K. or Not?
  73. Is It O.K. for Men and Boys to Comment on Women and Girls on the Street?
  74. Do We Need New Ways to Identify Gender and Sexuality?
  75. What Should We Do to Fight Sexual Violence Against Young Women?
  76. How Do You Feel About Rihanna and Chris Brown Getting Back Together?
  77. Why Aren’t There More Girls in Leadership Roles?
  78. Why Aren’t More Girls Choosing to Pursue Careers in Math and Science?
  79. Should Women Be Allowed to Fight on the Front Lines Alongside Men?
  80. Do You Believe in Equal Rights for Women and Men?
  81. Are Women Better at Compromising and Collaborating?
  82. Do Boys Have Less Intense Friendships Than Girls?
  83. Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?
  84. Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?

  85. Dating and Sex

  86. Should Birth Control Pills Be Available to Teenage Girls Without a Prescription?
  87. Should the Morning-After Pill Be Sold Over the Counter to People Under 17?
  88. How Should Children Be Taught About Puberty and Sex?
  89. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  90. Is Hookup Culture Leaving Your Generation Unhappy and Unprepared for Love?
  91. Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?
  92. Could Following These Directions Make You Fall in Love With a Stranger?
  93. How Should Educators and Legislators Deal With Minors Who ‘Sext’?
  94. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?

  95. SPORTS AND ATHLETICS

    Football

  96. If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?
  97. Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football?
  98. Should College Football Players Get Paid?
  99. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?

  100. Sportsmanship

  101. Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense?
  102. Should There Be Stricter Rules About How Coaches Treat Their Players?
  103. Do Sports Teams Have a Responsibility to Hold Players to a Standard for Their Personal Conduct?
  104. Should Athletes Who Dope Have to Forfeit Their Titles and Medals?
  105. Do Fans Put Too Much Pressure on Their Favorite Professional Athletes?
  106. Does a Championship Game Always Need to Have a Winner (and a Loser)?
  107. Should Sports Betting Be Legal Everywhere?
  108. Should Colleges Fund Wellness Programs Instead of Sports?
  109. Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights?

  110. Other Sports

  111. Has Baseball Lost Its Cool?
  112. Is Cheerleading a Sport?
  113. How Big a Deal Is It That an N.B.A. Player Came Out as Gay?
  114. Would You Want a Bike Share Program for Your Community?
  115. How Young Is Too Young to Climb Mount Everest?

  116. POLITICS AND POLICY

    Government

  117. Do You Trust Your Government?
  118. If You Were Governor of Your State, How Would You Spend a Budget Surplus?
  119. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  120. Should Rich People Have to Pay More Taxes?
  121. What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?

  122. Leadership and Politics

  123. Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations?
  124. Do Great Leaders Have to Be Outgoing?
  125. Is It Principled, or Irresponsible, for Politicians to Threaten a Shutdown?

  126. International Relations

  127. Should the U.S. Be Spying on Its Friends?
  128. When Is the Use of Military Force Justified?
  129. Should Countries Pay Ransoms to Free Hostages Held by Terrorists?

  130. Police, Prisons and Justice System

  131. Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty?
  132. When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences?
  133. What Do You Think of the Police Tactic of Stop-and-Frisk?
  134. Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law?
  135. Should All Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?
  136. Will What Happened in Ferguson Change Anything?
  137. Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote After They Have Served Their Time?

  138. Gun Policy

  139. How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings?
  140. Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
  141. What Is Your Relationship With Guns?
  142. Where Do You Stand on Unconcealed Handguns?
  143. Should Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses?
  144. Did a Newspaper Act Irresponsibly by Publishing the Addresses of Gun Owners?

  145. Immigration

  146. Should Millions of Undocumented Immigrants Be Allowed to Live in the U.S. Without Fear of Getting Deported?
  147. Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education?

  148. PARENTS AND FAMILIES

    Parenting and Childhood

  149. How Much Freedom Should Parents Give Their Children?
  150. How Should Parents Discipline Their Kids?
  151. When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse?
  152. Do ‘Shame and Blame’ Work to Change Teenage Behavior?
  153. Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?
  154. Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?
  155. Is Modern Culture Ruining Childhood?
  156. How, and by Whom, Should Children Be Taught Appropriate Behavior?
  157. Are ‘Dark’ Movies O.K. for Kids?
  158. Should Halloween Costumes Portray Only ‘Positive Images’?
  159. Are Parents Violating Their Children’s Privacy When They Share Photos and Videos of Them Online?
  160. Should Children Be Allowed to Compete on TV?
  161. How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
  162. Should Parents Limit How Much Time Children Spend on Tech Devices?

  163. Parents and School

  164. How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?
  165. How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences?
  166. Who Should Be Able to See Students’ Records?
  167. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  168. Should All Children Be Able to Go to Preschool?

  169. House and Home

  170. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  171. Does Keeping a Messy Desk Make People More Creative?

  172. Millennial Generation

  173. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  174. Does Your Generation Have Too Much Self-Esteem?
  175. Is Your Generation Really ‘Postracial’?

  176. Becoming an Adult

  177. When Do You Become an Adult?
  178. When Should You Be Able to Buy Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol, Vote, Drive and Fight in Wars?
  179. When You Are Old Enough to Vote, Will You?

  180. CHARACTER AND MORALITY

    Personal Character

  181. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  182. Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier?
  183. Are We Losing the Art of Listening?
  184. Do People Complain Too Much?
  185. Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
  186. How Important Is Keeping Your Cool?
  187. When Should You Compromise?
  188. Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations?

  189. Religion and Spirituality

  190. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  191. How Much Control Do You Think You Have Over Your Fate?
  192. Can You Be Good Without God?
  193. How Important Do You Think It Is to Marry Someone With the Same Religion?

  194. Morality and Personal Responsibility

  195. Does Suffering Make Us Stronger and Lead to Success?
  196. Do Bystanders Have a Responsibility to Intervene When There is Trouble?
  197. When Is Looting Morally O.K.?
  198. Can Kindness Become Cool?

  199. Language and Standards

  200. Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value?
  201. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  202. What Words or Phrases Should Be Retired?
  203. Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place?
  204. Should Newspapers Reprint Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad That Some Deem Offensive?
  205. Is It Wrong for a Newspaper to Publish a Front-Page Photo of a Man About to Die?

  206. EDUCATION

    Teaching and Learning

  207. Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?
  208. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  209. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  210. Does Class Size Matter?
  211. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  212. Does Gym Help Students Perform Better in All Their Classes?
  213. Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?
  214. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  215. What Is the Right Amount of Group Work in School?
  216. What Do You Think of Grouping Students by Ability in Schools?
  217. How Important Is Arts Education?
  218. Do Schools Provide Students With Enough Opportunities to Be Creative?
  219. Does the Way Your Classroom Is Decorated Affect Your Learning?

  220. Discipline and School Rules

  221. What Are the Best Teaching Methods for Getting Students to Behave Well in Class?
  222. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  223. Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment?
  224. Is Cheating Getting Worse?
  225. Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards?
  226. Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested?
  227. Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School?

  228. Bullying

  229. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  230. How Should Schools Address Bullying?
  231. How Should Schools Address Cyberbullying?
  232. What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying?
  233. When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?
  234. How Should Schools Respond to Hazing Incidents?

  235. Time in School

  236. Should the School Day Start Later?
  237. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  238. Do You Think a Longer School Calendar Is a Good Idea?
  239. Should the Dropout Age Be Raised?
  240. Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School?
  241. Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School?
  242. Should Kids Head to College Early?
  243. Class Time + Substitute = Waste?
  244. Do Kids Need Recess?

  245. Grading

  246. Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
  247. Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s?
  248. Do Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys in Your School?
  249. Does Separating Boys and Girls Help Students Perform Better in School?
  250. Why Do Boys Lag Behind Girls in Reading?
  251. Should Discomfort Excuse Students From Having to Complete an Assignment?

  252. Standardized Tests

  253. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  254. How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests?
  255. Do You Spend Too Much Time Preparing for Standardized Tests?
  256. Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores?

  257. School Life

  258. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  259. How Much Does It Matter to You Which High School You Attend?
  260. Are Small Schools More Effective Than Large Schools?
  261. Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
  262. Should All Students Get Equal Space in a Yearbook?
  263. Should School Newspapers Be Subject to Prior Review?
  264. Is Prom Worth It?
  265. Is Prom Just an Excuse to Drink?

  266. COLLEGE AND CAREER

    College

  267. How Necessary Is a College Education?
  268. Is College Overrated?
  269. Should a College Education be Free?
  270. What Is the Perfect Number of College Applications to Send?
  271. Should Colleges Find a Better Way to Admit Students?
  272. Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades?
  273. Do You Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions?
  274. Does It Matter Where You Go to College?
  275. Do College Rankings Matter?
  276. What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College?
  277. Should Engineers Pay Less for College Than English Majors?
  278. Do Fraternities Promote Misogyny?
  279. Should Colleges Ban Fraternities?

  280. Jobs and Careers

  281. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  282. Should Employers Be Able to Review Job Applicants’ SAT Scores?
  283. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?
  284. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  285. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?

  286. HEALTH AND NUTRITION

    Drugs, Cigarettes and Alcohol

  287. Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers?
  288. Are Antismoking Ads Effective?
  289. Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers?
  290. Should Marijuana Be Legal?
  291. Should Students Be Required to Take Drug Tests?
  292. Why Is Binge Drinking So Common Among Young People in the United States?

  293. Nutrition and Food

  294. Do You Think a Healthier School Lunch Program Is a Lost Cause?
  295. Should French Fries and Pizza Sauce Count as Vegetables?
  296. How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From?
  297. Is It Ethical to Eat Meat?
  298. Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
  299. Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’?
  300. Should Sugary Drinks Be Taxed?
  301. Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?

  302. Health Issues

  303. How Should Schools Handle Unvaccinated Students?
  304. Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal in Every State?
  305. Should Texting While Driving Be Illegal in Every State?
  306. Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed to Die on Their Own Terms?

  307. Appearance and Fashion

  308. Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Whatever They Want?
  309. What Are Your Opinions on Cosmetic Surgery?
  310. Do ‘Saggy Pants’ Mean Disrespect?
  311. Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing?

  312. SCIENCE TOPICS

    Science and the Environment

  313. How Concerned Are You About Climate Change?
  314. How Should Nations and Individuals Address Climate Change?
  315. Should Developers Be Allowed to Build in and Near the Grand Canyon?
  316. Should Scientists Try to Help People Beat Old Age So We Can Live Longer Lives?
  317. Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate?
  318. When Is It O.K. to Replace Human Limbs With Technology?
  319. Should Fertilized Eggs Be Given Legal ‘Personhood’?

  320. Outer Space

  321. Do You Think Life Exists — or Has Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth?
  322. Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life?
  323. Will Humans Live on Mars Someday?
  324. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  325. Animals

  326. Should Certain Animals Have Some of the Same Legal Rights As People?
  327. Is It Unethical for a Zoo to Kill a Healthy Giraffe?
  328. Should You Go to Jail for Kicking a Cat?
  329. Should You Feel Guilty About Killing Spiders, Ants or Other Bugs?
  330. How Do You Think Dinosaurs Went Extinct?

  331. MISCELLANEOUS

    Rich and Famous

  332. Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits?
  333. Do You Think Child Stars Have It Rough?

  334. American Dream

  335. Should the United States Care That It’s Not No. 1?
  336. Is It Possible to Start Out Poor in This Country, Work Hard and Become Well-Off?
  337. Do Poor People ‘Have It Easy’?
  338. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?

  339. Charity and Philanthropy

  340. Should Charities Focus More on America?
  341. What Causes Should Philanthropic Groups Finance?
  342. Is Teenage ‘Voluntourism’ Wrong?

  343. Shopping

  344. Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses?
  345. Is Amazon Becoming Too Powerful?
  346. Should Companies Collect Information About You?
  347. What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start?
  348. How Long Is It O.K. to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?

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