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TOEFL IBT Writing practice #23

 Writing Task 1

Reading Passage:

In the twelfth century AD, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, located in the American Southwest, featured impressive "great houses" that were massive stone structures, often reaching three or four stories high and containing hundreds of rooms. These structures have puzzled archaeologists, who have put forth three competing theories to explain their purpose.

The first theory suggests that the Chaco structures served as residential buildings, accommodating hundreds of people. Proponents of this theory argue that the Chaco great houses can be seen as earlier iterations of the architectural style found in more recent Southwest societies. Notably, the Chaco houses bear a striking resemblance to the well-known "apartment buildings" in Taos, New Mexico, where people have lived for centuries.

The second theory posits that the Chaco structures were primarily used for food storage. The Chaco people cultivated grain maize as one of their main crops, which could be stored for extended periods without spoiling, providing a long-lasting food supply. Given the substantial size of the great houses, they were well-suited for storing these maize supplies.

The third theory proposes that the houses were utilized as ceremonial centers. Near one of the houses, called Pueblo Alto, archaeologists discovered a massive mound composed of discarded materials. Excavations of this mound unveiled numerous broken pots. This discovery has led to the interpretation that Pueblo Alto was a gathering place for special ceremonies. During these ceremonies, participants would consume celebratory meals, discarding the pots used for cooking or serving. Similar ceremonial practices have been observed in other Native American cultures.

Listening Transcript:

Narrator: Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

Professor: Unfortunately, none of the arguments about what the Chaco great houses were used for is convincing.

First, the inside of the great houses contradicts the idea that many people lived there. Despite the large size of the houses, there are very few fireplaces, which would be necessary if hundreds of people were living there. In fact, one of the largest great houses only had fireplaces for about ten families, whereas there are enough rooms for more than a hundred families. This suggests that the primary function of the houses couldn't have been residential.

Second, the theory that the great houses were used for storing maize grain lacks evidence. Although it may seem plausible that the large empty rooms could be used for storage, excavations of the great houses have not uncovered significant traces of maize or maize containers. If the houses were indeed used for storage, one would expect to find more spilled maize on the floors and more remains of large containers.

Third, the notion that the great houses were ceremonial centers is also unsupported. The presence of a mound at Pueblo Alto, which is believed to be a ceremonial site, does not provide strong evidence. Apart from broken pots, the mound contains various other materials such as building materials, sand, stone, and construction tools. This suggests that the mound is simply a collection of discarded construction materials, leftovers or waste from the house's construction. The pots found in the pile could be regular trash from the meals of the construction workers. Therefore, the Pueblo Alto mound does not provide solid evidence for the great houses being used for special ceremonies.

The question:

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they cast doubt on the specific theories discussed in the reading passage.

My writing Answer:

Both the reading passage and the professor has arguments about Chago Canyon in New Mexico. This Chago Canyon has impressive "great houses" that built on rocks of the canyon. The reading passage gives 3 possibility theories regarding the purpose of this "great houses", however the professor in the lecture argues all the theory written, not convincing enough. The theories and Professor's arguments are as following paragraph.

The first theory suggests that the Chaco Canyon built for residential buildings, accomodating hundreds of people. The professor see this theory contradictives it's own fact. If the "great houses" purpose was for hundreds of people, it must be many fireplaces are there, the fact is, it doesn't. Since fireplace is so essential for human to live particularly on those days, he argue it is not possible "great houses" was residential places. Even the largest rooms contain fireplace only suite for up to 10 people, not hundreds.

The next theory is about "great houses" purpose was used for store food. On this particular case, Chaco people cultivated grain maize as one of their main crops. The professor argues, this theory lack of evidence. If it was true that the building purpose for storing foods, it must be some maize prints on the floor, but it doesn't.

Lastly, regarding theory that the "great houses" were used for ceremonial centers. The professor accept the fact that many discarded materials founded on Pueblo Alto, one of the house. But he argue, it doesn't mean those are evidence of ceremonial activities. He believe, those materials should be construction waste such as tools or materials, or even construction worker's regular trash such a meal.

ChatGPT Assessment, based on TOEFL iBT rubrics in scale out of 4 for each rubric (Delivery, Language Use, Topic Development):

Delivery: 3

The response effectively presents the main points from the lecture and explains how they cast doubt on the theories discussed in the reading passage. The information is organized and coherent, making it easy to follow the professor's arguments.

Language Use: 3

The response demonstrates a good command of English language with accurate grammar and vocabulary choices. The ideas are expressed clearly and effectively, allowing for a proper understanding of the content.

Topic Development: 3

The response provides a clear summary of the main points made in the lecture and explains how they challenge the theories presented in the reading passage. The arguments are supported with relevant details and examples from the lecture, showing a good understanding of the topic. However, there could have been more elaboration on the specific evidence mentioned in the lecture to further strengthen the response.

Overall, the response is well-constructed and effectively addresses the task. It provides a sufficient summary of the lecture's main points and their implications for the theories discussed in the reading passage.


Writing Task 2

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

People today spend too much time on personal enjoyment—doing things they 

like to do—rather than doing things they should do. 

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

My writing Answer:

In my point of view, I disagree with the statement. I believe people in general, even if it seems spent too much time on personal enjoyment, people still productive, or doing things they should do. Here are few my reason to support my stance.

I believe the statement background came from usage of social media nowadays. We can see everyone use their social media in daily basis. It seems like, this habit only in the sake for their enjoyment. But the fact is, not a few people can get money from social media. While enjoying create and consume content on social media, nowadays people can get money and live from it. Me, my self, have a Youtube Channel with 10k+ subscribers, my family seeing me as social-media-person and only looking for joy. But actually, I tweak my mind to create content that should give something valuable to my audience. By doing this, some brand came to me for endorsement, then I got money from that.

Secondly, because of the vast development of technology, poeple can done their jobs or task faster than ever. So if people able to getting their things done faster, what else they should do? obviously, appreciate themselves by looking for enjoyment. In my own experience, I use many new technology. One of those are cloud sharing documents. Several years ago, when I have progress of my jobs, I have to sent it to my boss. Nowadays, it doesn't needed anymore. Because we can do realtime editing trough cloud sharing documents such as Google Docs, Dropbox, per se. It cut a lot of time of my workflow, so I can spent more time with my kids, looking for my enjoyment.

To sum up, in my own perspective, people today still doing things that they should do. That seems too much time on personal enjoyment, but the fact it is not.

ChatGPT Assessment, based on TOEFL iBT rubrics in scale out of 4 for each rubric (Delivery, Language Use, Topic Development):

Delivery: 3

The delivery of the response is generally clear and coherent. The writer presents their point of view and supports it with examples and personal experiences. The ideas are organized in a logical manner, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

Language Use: 3

The writer demonstrates a good command of the English language. The sentence structure and vocabulary choices are mostly accurate and appropriate. There are a few minor errors and awkward phrases, but they do not significantly impede understanding.

Topic Development: 3

The writer provides specific reasons and examples to support their disagreement with the statement. They discuss the potential financial benefits of social media use and personal experiences with technology to argue that people still prioritize their responsibilities while also finding time for personal enjoyment. The examples provided are relevant and help to develop the writer's stance.

Overall, the response is well-written and effectively presents arguments against the given statement. The writer demonstrates sufficient language skills and provides coherent reasoning to support their perspective.

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