Editorial: A proposed new law would limit elementary school class sizes to a maximum of 20 students. Most parents su...

Jacob on May 27, 2017

Why not B

Can you explain why answer D is correct?

3 Replies

Mehran on June 6, 2017

@JayDee8732 this is a Strengthen with Necessary Premise question.

The researchers' conclusion here is "this reasoning is questionable."

What reasoning? Smaller class sizes allow teachers to devote more time to each student, with the result that students become more engaged in the learning process.

The support provided for this conclusion?

"The researchers studied schools that had undergone recent reductions in class size, and found that despite an increase in the amount of time teachers spent individually with students, the students' average grades were unchanged."

Notice the jump here from "students become more engaged in the learning process" to "students' average grades were unchanged."

(D) strengthens this argument be closing this gap, i.e. "Degree of student engagement in the learning process correlates well with students' average grades."

Now let's negate (D) to make sure it is also necessary to the researchers' conclusion.

The negation of (D) is, "Degree of student engagement in the learning process does not correlate well with students' average grades."

This destroys the argument, so (D) would be the correct answer.

I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Will on March 20 at 11:09PM

Why is B not correct?

Jacob on March 22 at 04:50AM

I’m happy to help. As always, let’s start with the question stem. We are looking for the assumption required by the researchers’ argument. So what was their argument?

We are told that a proposed new law would limit elementary class size to 20 students, and that most parents support the measure, because it allows teachers to devote more time to each student, with the result of more student engagement.

HOWEVER, (note the indicator word!) researchers say this reasoning is questionable. The researchers looked at schools with reductions in class size, and found that despite an increase in individual teacher-student time, the average grades were unchanged.

Before you look at the answers, how would you describe the assumption? Notice that the researchers are measuring average grades, whereas the parents’ argument was about student engagement in the learning process. These two things are not synonymous!

And that is what answer D says. Degree of student engagement correlates with students’ grades is a required assumption of the argument.

Answer B on the other hand is not required. The researchers looked at schools where there was “an increase in the amount of time teachers spent individually with students.” So even if the time devoted to each student was not exactly the same, we still know their claim addressed one part of the parents’ argument: that more individualized attention leads to more engagement. Equal time is therefore not a required assumption.

I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have further questions.