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The Synthesis Project

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Total time—2 hours

Question 1

(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)

Directions: The following prompt is based on the accompanying eight sources.

This question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. When you synthesize sources, you refer to them to develop your position and cite them accurately. Your argument should be central; the sources should support your argument. Avoid merely summarizing the sources.

Remember to attribute both direct and indirect references.


Over the years, cutting fine arts classes in public schools has been a controversial topic amongst school officials, parents, and students in order to keep within budget constraints. These classes include woodworking, painting, ceramics, band, orchestra, theater, etc.

Because fine arts are seen as dispensable compared to core classes (reading, science, math, social studies), they are often the first to be cut when financial issues arise. Outcries of communities are heard throughout nations, and many protest these cuts in board meetings, petitions, and demonstrations. Many people worry that with the removal of fine arts, we are sacrificing the creative and stimulating outlets that contribute to students’ growth. Today, as society gives STEM courses more priority, the role of fine arts remains questionable.


Read the following sources (including the introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that evaluates the factors that should be considered when cutting fine arts classes in public schools.

You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses.

Source A (See)

Source B (Ogale)

Source C (Warburton)

Source D (Deniz)

Source E (Pogrebin)

Source F (Hawkins)

Source G (Paton)

Source H (cartoon)

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