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# For years, the debate over public education reform has

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19 Oct 2010, 17:02
3
arundas wrote:
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

> Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.
> Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.
> Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.
> School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.
> Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.

I have a couple of issues with this question. It asks us what 'most weakens the argument'. Well, there is no 'argument'. There is just a claim: "the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas". That's not an argument, in the sense that word is used in logic (it's not a logical deduction from a set of premises); it's just an unsubstantiated opinion. It's hard to know how to weaken an 'argument' that isn't an argument in the first place.

I also dislike answer E here, though I prefer it to the other answer choices. First it's unclear just what is meant by 'per capita spending'; does this mean dollars spent per student, or tax dollars spent on education per person in the district? In any case, E contains a kind of overly simplistic logic that real GMAT CR questions normally ask you to attack. That higher spending districts get better test scores is not, in and of itself, reason to think that spending improves test scores. That's a correlation/causation fallacy. There may easily be, for example, sample bias at work here. Those districts which can afford to spend the most are very possibly the wealthiest districts, and that may be the reason for higher test scores; perhaps students in poorer districts need to work part-time jobs and can't focus on their studies, or perhaps those in poorer districts aren't properly nourished and that affects their academic performance, just to list two of a myriad of possibilities here. It may not be the educational spending itself that is producing the better results.

Those problems with the question aside, I don't see how any of the answers A-D could be good here, so E it is, but I don't care for the question at all.
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19 Oct 2010, 21:05
I'm up in the air with B or E. I still think B is a very close contender. It mentions that putting money into schools is not the right way to enhance performance, thus traditional methods need to be replaced with innovative ideas. E seems very similar, but more vague. Higher per capita = more investment in schools, but how do we not know that this money is not going towards new ideas and investment.
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20 May 2011, 08:32
choice between C and E.

C brings in 3rd party element.But it does not favor one side of the argument which is More funding. Hence POE.

E clearly favors the money aspect of the argument.

hence E.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2012, 00:41
My question is "Does high performance only means the scoring of higher marks"? I dont think so. Performance will include higher marks as well as extracurricular activities.
If it were mentioned in the question stem that new ideas and new approaches help students to get good marks, then i would have agreed with E.
anyone?
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2012, 09:12
2
arundas wrote:
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

> Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.
> Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.
> Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.
> School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.
> Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.
If students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests, then the assumption that higher spending does not improve school systems may be wrong.

Very interesting discussion going on here. Let me add my two cents to it. Let's first dissect the passage, line by line:
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing - It's a background statement for the passage. It gives a background that a debate has centered on financing. Then, the passage given two counter-views of the debate.

Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. - This is view of one side of the debate.

However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. - This is view of other side of the debate. The author is on this side of the debate. The use of word "only" makes this view completely counter to the other view. Presence of "only" means that this view of the debate means two things: new ideas and new approaches are needed to fix the system and pouring of money "cannot" fix the school systems.

Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students. - This opinion is used to mean that the current school systems are not doing what they are supposed to be doing and thus, they need a fix. In addition, "... benefit their adult employees rather..." could also mean that the way (financial) resources are used currently is benefiting employees rather than the students. Thus, this opinion would also support the viewpoint that putting more resources will not help; new ideas and approaches are required.

The question asks us to find an option which most weakens the argument. But what is the argument here?
From our above understanding, the argument is like:
Conclusion (Claim): new ideas and new approaches are needed to fix the system and pouring of money "cannot" fix the school systems.
Premise (supporting opinion): the way (financial) resources are used currently is benefiting employees rather than the students

Now, let's look at each of the options:
A. Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students. - Supports the conclusion rather than weakening it.
B. Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do. - It means that students with outside playgrounds have higher level of student performance than schools that do not. So, if the absence of outside playgrounds in schools is due to lack of funds, then putting more financial resources will help them to build playgrounds and thus, achieve higher level of performance. So, by making an assumption (that the absence of outside playgrounds in schools is due to lack of funds), this statement works as a weakener.
C. Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families. - Generally saying, education of students's families is not being talked in the passage. Even if this statement is considered correct, it could mean two things in different scenarios:
1. Scenario One: If education of families can't be changed - In this case, we can't really do anything to improve student performance, which makes the whole debate irrelevant.
2. Scenario Two: If education of families can be changed - In this case, we can work on educating the families while simultaneously working with students. Doing such a thing could be characterized as a "new idea", which would support the given argument.
Thus, this statement doesn't weaken the argument.

D. School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well. - This is irrelevant. Opinion of school employees on the argument is irrelevant.
E. Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests. - If higher capita spending means higher spending per student and if higher scores on standardized tests means higher performance, then this statement weakens our conclusion that pouring of money cannot fix the system. So, by making these assumptions, this statement can act as a weakener.

From the analysis above, we see that both options B and E can be weakeners, if we make the required assumptions. However, we need to select the options which weakens the argument the most. Therefore, we need to find the stronger weakener of these two.

A strong weakener is one which weakens the argument without making any assumptions. In this case, both the statement make assumptions. The stronger of the two would be the one whose assumptions are easy to justify within the context of the argument.

In this case, I think assumptions for option E are easier to justify:
- Assumption 1: Since we are primarily talking about public finance, per capita spending should refer to spending per student by the public machinery, rather than spending per individual
- Assumption 2: Generally whenever performances are measured and compared, they are through standardized tests. Thus, higher scores on standardized tests should mean higher performance, in this context.

In case of option B, absence of outside playgrounds could be due to reasons other than financial ones. It's actually not easy to justify that the only reason for absence of playgrounds would be lack of financial resources.

Thus, the correct option should be E.

Cheers,
CJ
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For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2013, 12:36
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

(A)Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.

(B)Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.

(C)Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.

(D)School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.

(E)Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.
Need explanation.................
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2013, 03:03
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

(A)Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students. Strengthener for only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches

(B)Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.OFS

(C)Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families. OFS

(D)School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well. Strengthener. for schools are organized to benefit their adult employees

(E)Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests. This implies money can improve the student performance. Weakener for : only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2013, 05:39
Argument: New ideas/approaches will bring educational reform and not finance/funds. Now, begin -

A) Strengthens
B) Out of context
C) Weakens (Assumptive and so not a good choice - I have assumed that financial well being of a family directly correlates with their educational standing) *my controversial remark*
D) Does nothing
E) Weakens as it implies that more funds/money produce better results

Hence, E)
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2013, 13:41
mun23 wrote:
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

(A)Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.

(B)Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.

(C)Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.

(D)School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.

(E)Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.
Need explanation.................

Per argument, "the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches...". I thought that
if we could find an answer that would suggest any way other than "new ideas and new approaches" it would weaken the argument. From that angle, to me, C fits the bill.

The problem I see with E is that how can associate higher score in standardized tests with 'improved performance'. Maybe they do, or maybe school scores indicate the performance. That is not indicated in the argument. Can someone explain.
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For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 11 Mar 2013, 09:30
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

A Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.

B Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.

C Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.

D School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.

E Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.

This was another tough CR for me. I chose C but on reading the answer was a little surprised.
Key question I would ask. What is the conclusion in this prompt? For me it was the "However" statement but the OA would indicate otherwise

Could someone do a premise conclusion breakdown of this and really go through there thought process to reaching the OA?
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Originally posted by manimgoindowndown on 11 Mar 2013, 09:10.
Last edited by manimgoindowndown on 11 Mar 2013, 09:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has cente  [#permalink]

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13 Mar 2013, 23:29
For years, the debate over public education reform has centered on financing. Many claim that pouring more money into the public schools will improve student performance. However, the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches. Today the schools are organized to benefit their adult employees rather than the students.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument?

A Schools that have instituted “new approaches” attract the best performing students.

B Schools without outside playgrounds have lower levels of student performance than schools that do.

C Studies show that student performance corresponded most directly with the education of the students’ families.

D School employees, by an overwhelming margin, said that the system performed well.

E Researchers in education have shown that students from school districts with high per-capita spending tend to receive higher scores on standardized tests.

Conclusion: the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches
E: States that it is money (not new idea or approach) which can improve the school system by allowing students to receive higher scores
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2013, 20:06
All duplicate threads on this topic have been merged.

Please check and follow the Guidelines for Posting in Verbal GMAT forum before posting anything.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2013, 23:05
clear E..

We are trying to weaken the fact that NEW IDEAS and NEW APPROACHES will fix school system. so anything that supports more funding is gives better results will be the correct answer.

E says more spending gives better academic results which means there is more money being poured.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2013, 03:55
The correct answer is E. The conclusion is that the only way to fix our school
systems is to inject new ideas and approaches. The author rejects the notion that
spending more money can improve education. We are asked to weaken this
argument.
Choice A states only that students that perform highly already are attracted to
schools with new approaches. This does not weaken the argument. Incorrect.
Choice B states that schools with playgrounds have better students than schools
without them. This is irrelevant. Incorrect.
Choice C states that student performance corresponds closely with the level of
their family's education. This does not address the issue of spending. Incorrect.
Choice D states that school employees are generally pleased with the school
system. This does not address the core of the argument: that money does not
improve student performance.
Choice E states that students from schools that spend more money tend to
perform better on standardized tests. This suggests that the claim that money
does not improve performance may be wrong. Correct.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2013, 22:24
I selected B. i think the option B weakens the reasonong of the author, anyway option E is stronger. The high per capita spending refers to a school budget Option E strengthensthe opinion of..."Many claim...."in a more direct way and with that weakens the position of the author as well.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 07:17
Hi all,

While i totally understand why and how E weakens the conclusion and should be the right answer, I wanted to know the reason why A is so comfortably discarded.

P1: Putting in more money into schools will not improve student performance.
C: New methods and Ideas will fix the problem.

Now, Doesn't option A go on to say that:
New methods and ideas wont improve the current students' performance but rather attract already high performing students.

Isn't this sufficient to say that A is also a good contender to weaken the conclusion.

The answer to the above will clarify my concepts to a more granular level. Any effort will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2014, 10:39
How to find conclusion in this statement?

Its really confusion to find the conclusion in this statment.

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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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10 Dec 2014, 23:20
The point is money vs new ideas.

the education of the families mentioned in C is not the point.
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2014, 11:15
i also marked E. we need to weaken the conclusion which is "the only way to fix our school systems is to inject new ideas and new approaches".
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Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2015, 21:35
Explanation for choice E

Type: Weaken

Conclusion: students from new way of education school perform better than those form good fincancing schools

Assumption = conclusion

Weaken the assumption: evidence show that students from good financing school score better than their counterpart. Hence choice E is correct.
Re: For years, the debate over public education reform has &nbs [#permalink] 17 Mar 2015, 21:35

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