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# Top college graduates are having more difficulty

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21 Aug 2012, 02:01
mmagyar wrote:
x97agarwal wrote:
Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their superiority to prospective employers than did the top students of twenty years ago when an honors degree was distinction enough. Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree. Twenty years ago no more than 10 percent of a given class graduated with honors. Today, however, because of grade inflation, the honors degree goes to more than 50 percent of a graduating class. Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.

Which one of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion in the passage?

(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions.
(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs.
(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree

A may be the official answer, but I disagree. E is better.

Argument structure:
C: "to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation"
P: "Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree"
P: the % graduating with honors is higher today than it was in the past

First of all, the entire argument is about the only method of restoring confidence. That students are having a hard time is ancillary to the conclusion. It might tell us why we want to restore confidence, but this does not factor into the truth of the statement in the conclusion, that if you want to restore confidence in honors degrees, you must control grade inflation. Negating the reason for wanting to restore confidence doesn't change whether controlling grade inflation is the only way. Specifically, even if students are higher achievers today, controlling grade inflation still may be the only way to restore confidence. This may hurt students who deserve the honor, but we are not philanthropists when we are answering these questions - we are only worried about the effect on the argument, which means the effect on the conclusion.

How does E matter? It doesn't, but it is the closest to an assumption. Employers do not need to know the specific criteria, but they need to know that it has changed. If employers are not aware of the changes in grading policy, how can confidence, which is a subjective feeling of employers, be restored? And, even assuming that the difficulty demonstrating superiority that is experienced by top graduates is relevant, controlling grade inflation cannot help students if employers still think that 50% of students achieve honor roll designation. There needs to be a change in their minds, and if we take "make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree" to mean that employers are being notified that honors degrees are harder to acquire, then it is the assumption.

Source?

TL;DR: The argument is about the only way to change the confidence level of employers and about top students demonstrating superiority (likely over other recent graduates). These have nothing to do with A.

What is the conclusion of this argument? It is "colleges must take steps to control grade inflation". This is the author's opinion that he is trying to put across.
The bit about employers was used only to introduce the subject. It doesn't have much to do with the actual argument. Hence (E) doesn't work out at all.

Rising grades could be a result of 'grade inflation' or 'higher achievement'. The author relates rising scores to grade inflation i.e. he is assuming that rising grades are not a result of 'higher achievement'. Hence, this is an assumption in the argument.
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21 Aug 2012, 06:58
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
What is the conclusion of this argument? It is "colleges must take steps to control grade inflation". This is the author's opinion that he is trying to put across.
The bit about employers was used only to introduce the subject. It doesn't have much to do with the actual argument. Hence (E) doesn't work out at all.

Rising grades could be a result of 'grade inflation' or 'higher achievement'. The author relates rising scores to grade inflation i.e. he is assuming that rising grades are not a result of 'higher achievement'. Hence, this is an assumption in the argument.

Disagree. You truncated the argument. While the conclusion is the most important element, you often need to include premises and background information to understand the scope of the conclusion.

Here, the reference to employers gives us necessary context for the conclusion. Why does the author think universities must control grade inflation? To comply with federal regulations? To be competitive with other universities? According to the argument, it is to alter the mentality of employers:

"Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation." The infinitive gives us the reason that the author thinks that colleges must control grade inflation. This reason is to make employers more confident in the value of the degrees that they award (context tells us that the author is specifically referring to honors degrees). You cannot ignore this in analyzing the answers. Focusing on only one aspect of the argument and allowing your brain to lead you down the wrong path leads you into traps on trickier arguments. If one of the answers said "curbing grade inflation would have an effect on employers' confidence," then A would be an excellent trap answer.

Why would A be a trap answer? Because, again, it is irrelevant. So what if students were achieving higher? That would not negate the need to curb grade inflation if universities want to restore employers' confidence. Employers would still not be confident in the designation given by an honors degree, and universities would still potentially have to curb grades to restore this confidence.

And I never said that E was a good answer, just that it's content was the most relevant.

The intended assumption is good (having to come up with an alternate explanation is common on arguments); however, this argument's construction hinders its correctness.
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21 Aug 2012, 21:17
mmagyar wrote:

Disagree. You truncated the argument. While the conclusion is the most important element, you often need to include premises and background information to understand the scope of the conclusion.

Here, the reference to employers gives us necessary context for the conclusion. Why does the author think universities must control grade inflation? To comply with federal regulations? To be competitive with other universities? According to the argument, it is to alter the mentality of employers:

"Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation." The infinitive gives us the reason that the author thinks that colleges must control grade inflation. This reason is to make employers more confident in the value of the degrees that they award (context tells us that the author is specifically referring to honors degrees). You cannot ignore this in analyzing the answers. Focusing on only one aspect of the argument and allowing your brain to lead you down the wrong path leads you into traps on trickier arguments. If one of the answers said "curbing grade inflation would have an effect on employers' confidence," then A would be an excellent trap answer.

Why would A be a trap answer? Because, again, it is irrelevant. So what if students were achieving higher? That would not negate the need to curb grade inflation if universities want to restore employers' confidence. Employers would still not be confident in the designation given by an honors degree, and universities would still potentially have to curb grades to restore this confidence.

And I never said that E was a good answer, just that it's content was the most relevant.

The intended assumption is good (having to come up with an alternate explanation is common on arguments); however, this argument's construction hinders its correctness.

Ok, one last time, let me try to help you understand the question writer's perspective.

Think - will the argument change if I put 'adcom of post grad schools' instead of employers? It doesn't matter who they are demonstrating their ability to. What matters is that it is harder to demonstrate because grades are rising. You need to focus on the reason for rising grades. There is a problem if there is grade inflation. Also, when you say, "So what if students were achieving higher? That would not negate the need to curb grade inflation if universities want to restore employers' confidence." I think you don't understand what grade inflation is. It is not the same as rising grades.
This is what wikipedia says about grade inflation: "Grade inflation is said to occur when higher grades are assigned for work that would have received lower grades in the past. Whether rising grades are a result of grade inflation or higher achievement can be difficult to discern and often can be determined only with systematic research."

If higher achievement is leading to rising grades, there is no problem. Students will find it hard to impress employers because of tougher competition. Checking grade inflation doesn't help in that case.
In his argument, the author assumes that rising grades are due to grade inflation, not higher achievement.
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22 Aug 2012, 06:13
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
mmagyar wrote:

Disagree. You truncated the argument. While the conclusion is the most important element, you often need to include premises and background information to understand the scope of the conclusion.

Here, the reference to employers gives us necessary context for the conclusion. Why does the author think universities must control grade inflation? To comply with federal regulations? To be competitive with other universities? According to the argument, it is to alter the mentality of employers:

"Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation." The infinitive gives us the reason that the author thinks that colleges must control grade inflation. This reason is to make employers more confident in the value of the degrees that they award (context tells us that the author is specifically referring to honors degrees). You cannot ignore this in analyzing the answers. Focusing on only one aspect of the argument and allowing your brain to lead you down the wrong path leads you into traps on trickier arguments. If one of the answers said "curbing grade inflation would have an effect on employers' confidence," then A would be an excellent trap answer.

Why would A be a trap answer? Because, again, it is irrelevant. So what if students were achieving higher? That would not negate the need to curb grade inflation if universities want to restore employers' confidence. Employers would still not be confident in the designation given by an honors degree, and universities would still potentially have to curb grades to restore this confidence.

And I never said that E was a good answer, just that it's content was the most relevant.

The intended assumption is good (having to come up with an alternate explanation is common on arguments); however, this argument's construction hinders its correctness.

Ok, one last time, let me try to help you understand the question writer's perspective.

Think - will the argument change if I put 'adcom of post grad schools' instead of employers? It doesn't matter who they are demonstrating their ability to. What matters is that it is harder to demonstrate because grades are rising. You need to focus on the reason for rising grades. There is a problem if there is grade inflation. Also, when you say, "So what if students were achieving higher? That would not negate the need to curb grade inflation if universities want to restore employers' confidence." I think you don't understand what grade inflation is. It is not the same as rising grades.
This is what wikipedia says about grade inflation: "Grade inflation is said to occur when higher grades are assigned for work that would have received lower grades in the past. Whether rising grades are a result of grade inflation or higher achievement can be difficult to discern and often can be determined only with systematic research."

If higher achievement is leading to rising grades, there is no problem. Students will find it hard to impress employers because of tougher competition. Checking grade inflation doesn't help in that case.
In his argument, the author assumes that rising grades are due to grade inflation, not higher achievement.

I understand the writer's perspective, and I know what grade inflation is. I think you do not. Grade inflation exists in this argument. The author clearly states: "Today, however, because of grade inflation, the honors degree goes to more than 50 percent of a graduating class." Why do you ignore this premise? It is usually improper to contradict a premise in an assumption question. And, even if this is one of the rare cases in which it happens, that students are higher achievers does not affect this premise. Students can be higher achievers, there can still be grade inflation, and universities can still need to curb it in order to restore confidence. Thus, answer A fails the negation test and is not an assumption for this argument.

You continue to ignore important pieces of the argument in an attempt to hold onto answer A. I do not understand why. The author incorporates the perception of employers in the conclusion, but you pretend that it is not there. The author tells you that there is grade inflation, but you pretend that it is not there. These are terrible habits on critical reasoning questions and will lead you (and those you teach) to choosing trap answers on the harder questions.

This discussion is moot, and I will no longer participate in it. The official answer is A, but it is not an assumption. I have laid out my points in hopes that those who struggle with this question can understand why this is a poorly constructed argument/answer combination, and there is nothing further to say.
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23 Aug 2012, 11:34
Yes, I don't think we will arrive at a consensus here.

For the benefit of those reading this discussion, here is my perspective:

The author says that the reason 50% of the class gets honors is grade inflation. He also says that we must control it. All this is the author's opinion. The assumption he is making here is that there is grade inflation i.e. the students are not higher achievers.
Read the argument and imagine someone is saying this to you. What would you say he has assumed? He has assumed that the students don't actually deserve the higher grades. He has suggested that we should control grade inflation because there is grade inflation. He has suggested that we should give lower grades. Why has he suggested this? He has suggested this because he is assuming that the students actually deserve the lower grades. He is assuming that they are not higher achievers.

Also, if you are wondering whether (E) is better, is (E) an assumption at all? Is it a missing premise required for the conclusion to be true? Is "colleges must do ..." an assumption?
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Re: CR: Top College Students [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2012, 19:42
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
mrinal2100 wrote:
WHATS WRONG WITH B

B - Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
Actually it is the reverse. Inflated grades lead to too many honors degrees. And this is already mentioned in the stimulus.
An assumption is a necessary premise that is missing from the stimulus. It strengthens the conclusion. If the assumption is negated, the conclusion breaks apart.

Conclusion here is: to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.

The author is assuming that grades are inflated. That today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago. If it is true, then his conclusion strengthens. Colleges must take steps to control grade inflation is they want to restore confidence in their degrees.

Let's negate the assumption (A)
If today's students are actually higher achievers and that is the reason why 50% of them get honors degrees, then author's conclusion - to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation - has no merit. Then the grades are not inflated.

hello ma'am,
but in the conclusion there was nothing described about the achievement of the students
so i straightforward eliminated it ..
what sort of approach should i develope??
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Re: CR: Top College Students [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2012, 21:17
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mohan514 wrote:
hello ma'am,
but in the conclusion there was nothing described about the achievement of the students
so i straightforward eliminated it ..
what sort of approach should i develope??

An assumption is a necessary missing premise. It is some information that is not given to you but you actually need it if you want to establish the conclusion. An assumption gives you new information i.e. it will not be present in the argument. Therefore, you cannot eliminate an option only because it gives you new info. It is actually meant to do that. You have to analyze whether the new info makes your conclusion stronger.

Say, I present this argument to you:
Every year new world records are set. Athletes must be taking performance enhancing drugs to set these records. All such drugs must be banned.

What have I assumed in my argument? I have assumed that the reason for the new records is not better training, diet and overall health.

So if you have 5 options, what could be your correct answer when you are looking for an assumption?
(A) Athletes do not get better training and diet each year.

Now just because my argument does not talk about 'training and diet', I cannot discard this option. It is an assumption I have made.
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30 Aug 2012, 00:47
A healthy discussion has already ensued here.

I chose B as my answer and after going through the explanations in this thread I think A is the best option.

If A is negated then the argument falls through because then the increase in the number of honors is because of ability and not due to grade inflation. Good one.
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22 Feb 2013, 22:11
Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.
Which one of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion in the passage?

(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.

Negating (A).

Today's students are higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago, So definitely they deserve honors degree.However, in the argument the achievers are not linked to getting honors degree.So,this choice seems dubious to me

Negating B

Conclusion talks about controlling degree inflation.

Awarding too many honors degree DOESN'T cause colleges to inflate degrees.Breaks the link between premise and conclusion.So,the conclusion has no legs.Hence, weaken it.

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22 Feb 2013, 23:52
targetgmatchotu wrote:
Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.
Which one of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion in the passage?

(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.

Negating (A).

Today's students are higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago, So definitely they deserve honors degree.However, in the argument the achievers are not linked to getting honors degree.So,this choice seems dubious to me

Negating B

Conclusion talks about controlling degree inflation.

Awarding too many honors degree DOESN'T cause colleges to inflate degrees.Breaks the link between premise and conclusion.So,the conclusion has no legs.Hence, weaken it.

An assumption is a necessary premise that is missing from the stimulus. It strengthens the conclusion. If the assumption is negated, the conclusion breaks apart.

Conclusion here is: to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.

The author is assuming that grades are inflated. That today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago. If it is true, then his conclusion strengthens. Colleges must take steps to control grade inflation is they want to restore confidence in their degrees.

'Higher achievers' means 'one who deservedly achieves higher grades' as far as academics go so there is no disconnect here.
Let's negate the assumption (A) - Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
If today's students are actually higher achievers and that is the reason why 50% of them get honors degrees, then author's conclusion - to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation - has no merit. Then the grades are not inflated so the point of controlling grade inflation has no merit.

As for B - Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
Actually it is the reverse. Inflated grades lead to too many honors degrees (and this is already mentioned in the stimulus).

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21 Aug 2013, 02:31
OA A.. supports the conclusion
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21 Aug 2013, 06:13
Medium difficulty

(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago. Good enough to not cancel out. Plays the defender role. Negation technique: If students today were higher achievers, then schools would not need to inflate grades, thereby weakening the conclusion.

(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades. Reverse causal relationship. It really weakens the conclusion, whereas an assumption would either defend or strengthen the relationship. We are looking for an assumption.

(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions. Making hiring decisions is out of scope; furthermore, this weakens the conclusion.

(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs. Didn't feel right because the relationship that needs defending is grade inflation -> meaningless honors

(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree Out of scope. That said, this would even weaken the relationship. If employers made decisions based off honors, then the criteria would be meaningful.
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13 Oct 2013, 03:46
hehelovehaha wrote:
13. Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their superiority to prospective employers than did the top students of twenty years ago when an honors degree was distinction enough. Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree. Twenty years ago no more than 10 percent of a given class graduated with honors. Today, however, because of grade inflation, the honors degree goes to more than 50 percent of a graduating class, Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.
Which one of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion in the passage?
(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions.
(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs.
(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree.

I think it's irrelevant because I don't think whether or not "Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago" is relevant with get honors degrees and the article do not say anything about the two things. However, all the other are all irrelevant. please help me.

I am pretty sure that you would've got C, D, E out in a flash ..

In addition to negation explained above by TGC, there is one more way to eliminate B ..
In Argument its written - because of grade inflation, the honors degree goes to more than 50

Cause and Effect, GI >> H.D.
In option B, Too many H.D > GI .. both are opposite .. it cannot be an assumption .. only thing left is A
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06 Aug 2014, 08:55
what's wrong with C. If I negate C and employer's don't rely on honors degree's rankings to make decisions than the colleges don't need to control inflated grades because it doesn't matter to employers.....
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06 Aug 2014, 23:03
bankerboy30 wrote:
what's wrong with C. If I negate C and employer's don't rely on honors degree's rankings to make decisions than the colleges don't need to control inflated grades because it doesn't matter to employers.....

The argument gives you "Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree. Thehonors degree goes to more than 50 percent of a graduating class."

then how can (C) be an assumption?
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions.

The argument clearly states that they don't rely much on honors degree anymore. An assumption needs to strengthen our argument. (C) doesn't do that.
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04 Apr 2016, 18:38
by POE, I picked A.
if we negate A, then the conclusion breaks down.
nowadays students are better than students 20 years ago.
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27 Oct 2016, 08:00
option A is the winner over here
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14 Mar 2017, 05:11
The author is assuming that grades are inflated. That today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago. If it is true, then his conclusion strengthens. Colleges must take steps to control grade inflation is they want to restore confidence in their degrees

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14 Mar 2017, 07:02
hehelovehaha wrote:
13. Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their superiority to prospective employers than did the top students of twenty years ago when an honors degree was distinction enough. Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree. Twenty years ago no more than 10 percent of a given class graduated with honors. Today, however, because of grade inflation, the honors degree goes to more than 50 percent of a graduating class, Therefore, to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.
Which one of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion in the passage?
(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions.
(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs.
(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree.

I think it's irrelevant because I don't think whether or not "Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago" is relevant with get honors degrees and the article do not say anything about the two things. However, all the other are all irrelevant. please help me.

happy to share my views about option A , as if you negate it then the argument will be such as if today's students are good achievers than those of 20 years ago then the conclusion will be falls apart and colleges do need to take steps to control grade inflation. as this is fact that grade inflation is happened during the last 20 years, so option a must be true or relevant info for the argument . and also if today 's top colleges students are good achievers than why are they facing difficulty to demonstrate their superiority to prospective employers. as because they are not good achievers .

hope that makes sense
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23 Oct 2017, 01:33
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
mrinal2100 wrote:
WHATS WRONG WITH B

B - Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades.
Actually it is the reverse. Inflated grades lead to too many honors degrees. And this is already mentioned in the stimulus.
An assumption is a necessary premise that is missing from the stimulus. It strengthens the conclusion. If the assumption is negated, the conclusion breaks apart.

Conclusion here is: to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation.

The author is assuming that grades are inflated. That today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago. If it is true, then his conclusion strengthens. Colleges must take steps to control grade inflation is they want to restore confidence in their degrees.

Let's negate the assumption (A)
If today's students are actually higher achievers and that is the reason why 50% of them get honors degrees, then author's conclusion - to restore confidence in the degrees they award, colleges must take steps to control grade inflation - has no merit. Then the grades are not inflated.

I understood your point, but could not understand, if today's students are actually higher achievers, then why they are facing difficulty in demonstrating their superiority to prospective employers than did the top students of twenty years ago. Would you please make me clear?
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Re: Top college graduates are having more difficulty   [#permalink] 23 Oct 2017, 01:33

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# Top college graduates are having more difficulty

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