At a large elementary school researchers studied a small group of children who successfully completed an experimental...

Sam on July 24, 2019

Why C over B?

Why not B?


Ravi on July 24, 2019


Happy to help. Let's look at (B) and (C).

We're looking for the answer choice that weakens the argument.

(B) says, "Those children who began the program but who did not
successfully complete it had lower preprogram levels of achievement
than did those who eventually did successfully complete the program."

This is a tempting answer choice, but the conclusion of the argument
didn't compare the levels of achievement between those folks who
completed the program and those who didn't. Rather, the conclusion was
based on the increase in achievement observed in those who actually
finished the program. Whether or not this group started really low or
really high does not matter, as the premises informed us that they
still experienced an increase in their achievement. Thus, (B) doesn't
weaken the argument, so it's out.

(C) says, "Many of the children who completed the program subsequently
sought membership on a school chess team that required a high grade
average for membership."

(C) provides us with an alternative cause for why those who finished
the program performed better in school. They performed better because
they became more concerned with doing well in school, as they had
added motivation to perform better because of the high grade point
average required for the team membership. Thus, it's possible that the
extra motivation and hard work caused these people to perform better
in school, rather than the skills they acquired playing chess. Thus,
(C) weakens the argument and is the correct answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!

Avi on June 16, 2020

I don't see how that shows that they were more motivated. If anything it strengthens the argument. They enjoyed playing chess so they joined this group and didn't worry about the higher grades since they had improved their skills due to this program.

jing jing on September 6, 2020

Hi I am not an instructor but I think I understand why you are confused as I was in the same boat as you. This is a very difficult question.

Our instructor’s answer really helped me so thank you for the instructor’s helpful answer! I now see C definitely weakens the argument. C is arguing that many people who completed chess program at school are so motivated to join chess team after the chess program ends that they are more motivated to get higher grades to qualify for chess team membership. Thus, their higher grades are obtained not from the skills learned from the chess program. Rather, their higher grades are obtained from their motivation to try harder in school to qualify for the marks for chess team. The author wants to argue that it is the “the reasoning power and spatial intuition exercised in chess-playing also contribute to achievement in many other areas of intellectual activity.” However, C gives us an alternative cause for the higher than usual scholastic achievement obtained by students after graduating from the chess program. That is, their motivation to join chess team after the chess program ends. Thus C weakens the author’s argument by presenting with an alternative cause to explain for the higher than usual scholastic achievements obtained by chess program graduates students.

I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to correct me. Thank you very much again for your questions and answers!