The question asks for an assumption made by the reader. The reader’s
conclusion is that academic rigor is in decline, based on the percentage of
colleges granting a majority of their degrees in the liberal arts mentioned in the
article. To draw this conclusion, the reader must assume that degrees not in the
liberal arts were not as academically rigorous.
(A) It is not necessary for the reader to assume that the percentage will continue
to drop. The reader's conclusion concerns the present. Assumptions must be
both unstated and necessary.
(B) This extreme statement is not a necessary assumption. The reader does not
have to assume that all colleges should do so; the conclusion only relies on an
assumption that 5.5% is too low.
(C) CORRECT. To conclude that the low percentage of colleges granting the
majority of their degrees in the liberal arts indicates a decline in academic rigor,
the reader must assume that other degree programs required less academic
rigor. If not, this evidence would not indicate a decline in academic rigor.
(D) This is not a necessary assumption. The relative importance of academic
rigor is irrelevant to the reader’s claim. That claim only asserts that academic
rigor, in isolation, is in decline. The claim has nothing to do with its importance
relative to other attributes.
(E) It is not necessary to assume anything specific about the schools that do not
grant a majority of their degrees in the liberal arts, as they are not the subject of
the evidence or the conclusion. The reader feels that the low percentage
mentioned is evidence enough; it is not necessary to assume any arbitrary level
below the 50% of degrees standard that the article and the reader use.
For me its C...