The following appeared in an editorial from a newspaper serving the town of Saluda:

“The Saluda Consolidated High School offers more than 200 different courses from which its students can choose. A much smaller private school down the street offers a basic curriculum of only 80 different courses, but it consistently sends a higher proportion of its graduating seniors on to college than Consolidated does. By eliminating at least half of the courses offered there and focusing on a basic curriculum, we could improve student performance at Consolidated and also save many tax dollars.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

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In this argument the author concludes that, in order to improve student performance at Consolidated and, at the same time, save some tax dollars, the Saluda Consolidated High school should decrease the number of courses from which its students can choose. The author cites a smaller private school as example to prove this. This smaller private school offers only 80 different courses while the Saluda Consolidated High School offers more than 200 different course. However, the private school keeps sending a higher proportion of its graduating students who went to college. Even though the conclusion seems appealing at first glance, the author’s claim suffers from several critical flaws.

The author unfairly assumes that the high proportion of graduating seniors on to college course was determined solely by the number of courses. In fact, this is rarely the case. The proportion of graduating seniors who went to college could be affected by many factors, such the quality of teaching, the teaching facilities in the school, etc. Perhaps the hard working of the students in the smaller private school leads to the high proportion of students who finally went to college. Without accounting for these potential factors, the author concludes too hastily ...is the best way to achieve goals.

The evidence the author provides is insufficient to support the conclusion drawn from it. One example is logically not enough to establish a general conclusion, unless it can be shown that the smaller private school is able to represent all schools. It is possible that the small school is totally different from the Saluda Consolidated High School, thus the success would not happen again on the Saluda Consolidated High School.

Another problem seriously weakens the logic of the argument is that the author assumes that the number of the graduating seniors who went to the college is the only criteria in determining the students’ performance. It is absolutely possible that a student who did not went to college, maybe because he or her cannot afford the tuition, is a good student at high school. Without more concrete information, the author’s assumption is questionable.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. To strengthen the conclusion, the author should provide concrete evidence that the two schools are analogous in all aspects. Furthermore, the author also should show evidence that the number of students who went to college is the only criteria in determine the students’ performance. Without those evidences, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.

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THX. I am not native and i will take GMAT in 5 days. need help!!