The Question

This integrated (type 1) question is based on sources used in various ETS documents.  I think it is used in the edX course, and maybe on the ETS website somewhere.  I can’t give you the sources here, but check that course and you’ll probabhly find them.

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The Sample Integrated Essay

The article and lecture are both about the merits of letting employees work four days per week for less pay than they get for working five days per week. The author of the article feels that this is beneficial. The lecturer challenges the claims made in the article. She thinks that giving people this option might have some disadvantages.

First of all, the author notes that the system would increase corporate profits because employees would feel more rested and alert. Therefore, they would make fewer mistakes. The author says that even though more employees would need to be hired, payroll costs would not increase since the four-day workers would only get paid 80% of their usual rate. In contrast, the lecturer says that companies would have to spend more on things like training and medical expenses, which are the same no matter how much someone works. They would also have to pay for things like computers and office space.

Next, the author claims that this system would reduce unemployment rates for the whole nation. According to the article, if people shift to working four days per week new employees would have to be hired. The lecturer challenges this. He notes that companies might just expect their existing employees to work overtime to make up the difference. He also says that they might expect their current employees to do the same amount of work in four days that they used to do in five days. Therefore, no new people would be hired.

Finally, the author says that a four-day workweek would be better for individual employees since it would give them more time to pursue their personal interests. The lecturer also challenges this claim. He puts forth the idea that four-day workers would be less likely to be given promotions because companies would like to have five-day workers in senior management positions. He also argues that four-day workers will be the first people to get laid off during economic downturns.


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