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Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their

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New post Updated on: 03 Jun 2018, 09:25
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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

Originally posted by x97agarwal on 21 Jul 2008, 00:12.
Last edited by Bunuel on 03 Jun 2018, 09:25, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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New post 29 Nov 2010, 07:53
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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.
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New post 21 Jul 2008, 01:19
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?



(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades. The casuality is reverse , that is simply degrees cause honors so that is invalid
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions. The passage mentions about there are so many honoured students today so this is criterion is out of fashion. Today they rely on something else
(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs. Out of the scope of conclusion
(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degreeOut of scope, nothing has mentioned in the passage about criteria.


Conclusion is ''colleges must take steps to control grade inflation so in order to contro grade inflation, employers have to gain confidence for honoured students. If the criteria is known than employers will gain confidence against colleges. The answer is E What is the orginal answer?
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New post 21 Jul 2008, 02:19
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It is asking for an assumption would support the conclusion in the passage?

The conclusion is to reduce grade inflation : grade inflation is only incorrect if students are at the same standard as before. if they were better, given them honors is fine. therefore, my vote is for

(A) Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.

OA plz
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New post 16 Aug 2010, 21:44
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WHATS WRONG WITH B
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New post 29 Nov 2010, 08:56
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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. - correct
(B) Awarding too many honors degrees causes colleges to inflate grades. - against the paragraph, since grade inflation has caused the increase in honors degree awardees, not the vice-versa
(C) Today’s employers rely on honors ranking in making their hiring decisions. - goes against the paragraph
(D) It is not easy for students with low grades to obtain jobs. - Irrelevant..
(E) Colleges must make employers aware of the criteria used to determine who receives an honors degree - goes against the conclusion, coz if college were to make the employers aware, the college would not need to control grade inflation

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New post 11 Jul 2012, 23:56
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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.

the answer is A
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.
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New post 12 Jul 2012, 01:58
"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."

Employers assume that getting an honor (or higher grade) shows either easier grading system(if we talk about a specific college or university ) or less competitive students.

" Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree" ...because they think ...(assume)

(A)Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.

IMO (A)
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New post 12 Jul 2012, 06:29
thevenus 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."

Employers assume that getting an honor (or higher grade) shows either easier grading system(if we talk about a specific college or university ) or less competitive students.

" Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree" ...because they think ...(assume)

(A)Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.

IMO (A)


Thank you
But I still do not understand why? The article tells you nothing about the relation of honors degree and higher achievers.
If I can use "they assume", then I think others are the right answer.
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New post 12 Jul 2012, 12:15
hehelovehaha wrote:
thevenus 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."

Employers assume that getting an honor (or higher grade) shows either easier grading system(if we talk about a specific college or university ) or less competitive students.

" Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree" ...because they think ...(assume)

(A)Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.

IMO (A)


Thank you
But I still do not understand why? The article tells you nothing about the relation of honors degree and higher achievers.
If I can use "they assume", then I think others are the right answer.
Hi hehelovehaha,

You seem a little confused because the assumption isn't mentioned by the text. But that shouldn't be confusing--the assumption is by definition not included in the text!

Essentially, an assumption is an unstated fact or set of facts that is required for the argument to hold.

So, "We must restrict the sales of Chem. X, because all poisons should be restricted" is a classic type of GMAT argument with a conclusion (Restrict X) based on evidence (No poison allowed!). But it's not a complete argument, and on the GMAT it almost never will be. Because I never told you that Chem. X was a poison! I'm leaving that unstated, or "assuming" it.

Back to your example. The conclusion is that schools need to fix grade inflation. Why? Because the author says that 10% of students were honors students once upon a time, but now it's as high as 50%. When the question asks for the assumption, it's asking what is unstated, but necessary, for the argument to make sense. And since he hasn't provided any evidence but his own inferences that grade inflation is a problem, we can predict his assumption as something like: "he assumes that grade inflation is the best and only explanation for the number of honors students today"

Once we know his assumption, we look for an answer that matches the prediction. And (A), though phrased slightly different, means the exact same thing.

I hope this helps!
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New post 12 Jul 2012, 15:20
KapTeacherEli wrote:
hehelovehaha wrote:
thevenus 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."

Employers assume that getting an honor (or higher grade) shows either easier grading system(if we talk about a specific college or university ) or less competitive students.

" Today’s employers are less impressed with the honors degree" ...because they think ...(assume)

(A)Today’s students are not higher achievers than the students of twenty years ago.

IMO (A)


Thank you
But I still do not understand why? The article tells you nothing about the relation of honors degree and higher achievers.
If I can use "they assume", then I think others are the right answer.
Hi hehelovehaha,

You seem a little confused because the assumption isn't mentioned by the text. But that shouldn't be confusing--the assumption is by definition not included in the text!

Essentially, an assumption is an unstated fact or set of facts that is required for the argument to hold.

So, "We must restrict the sales of Chem. X, because all poisons should be restricted" is a classic type of GMAT argument with a conclusion (Restrict X) based on evidence (No poison allowed!). But it's not a complete argument, and on the GMAT it almost never will be. Because I never told you that Chem. X was a poison! I'm leaving that unstated, or "assuming" it.

Back to your example. The conclusion is that schools need to fix grade inflation. Why? Because the author says that 10% of students were honors students once upon a time, but now it's as high as 50%. When the question asks for the assumption, it's asking what is unstated, but necessary, for the argument to make sense. And since he hasn't provided any evidence but his own inferences that grade inflation is a problem, we can predict his assumption as something like: "he assumes that grade inflation is the best and only explanation for the number of honors students today"

Once we know his assumption, we look for an answer that matches the prediction. And (A), though phrased slightly different, means the exact same thing.

I hope this helps!


First of all, thank you. I think I know what you mean.
However, let me ask you a question about GMAT.
Branched would be broken off by snow in winter and, therefore, the cars would break down because of those branches. However, the number of those cars broken down in autumn is higher than those in winter.
what can explain it?
A. in autumn, the gust will break off branches which will break down the cars.
B. in winter, people know that the branches will be broken off by snow so that they never park their cars under the trees.

the answer is A, because in B the article does not tell us that only those cars which are parked under the trees will be break down by snow. So I think the answer of the question of LSAT is irrelevant. Can you give me a hand?
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New post 12 Jul 2012, 16:57
hehelovehaha wrote:
KapTeacherEli wrote:
hehelovehaha wrote:
Thank you
But I still do not understand why? The article tells you nothing about the relation of honors degree and higher achievers.
If I can use "they assume", then I think others are the right answer.
Hi hehelovehaha,

You seem a little confused because the assumption isn't mentioned by the text. But that shouldn't be confusing--the assumption is by definition not included in the text!

Essentially, an assumption is an unstated fact or set of facts that is required for the argument to hold.

So, "We must restrict the sales of Chem. X, because all poisons should be restricted" is a classic type of GMAT argument with a conclusion (Restrict X) based on evidence (No poison allowed!). But it's not a complete argument, and on the GMAT it almost never will be. Because I never told you that Chem. X was a poison! I'm leaving that unstated, or "assuming" it.

Back to your example. The conclusion is that schools need to fix grade inflation. Why? Because the author says that 10% of students were honors students once upon a time, but now it's as high as 50%. When the question asks for the assumption, it's asking what is unstated, but necessary, for the argument to make sense. And since he hasn't provided any evidence but his own inferences that grade inflation is a problem, we can predict his assumption as something like: "he assumes that grade inflation is the best and only explanation for the number of honors students today"

Once we know his assumption, we look for an answer that matches the prediction. And (A), though phrased slightly different, means the exact same thing.

I hope this helps!


First of all, thank you. I think I know what you mean.
However, let me ask you a question about GMAT.
Branched would be broken off by snow in winter and, therefore, the cars would break down because of those branches. However, the number of those cars broken down in autumn is higher than those in winter.
what can explain it?
A. in autumn, the gust will break off branches which will break down the cars.
B. in winter, people know that the branches will be broken off by snow so that they never park their cars under the trees.

the answer is A, because in B the article does not tell us that only those cars which are parked under the trees will be break down by snow. So I think the answer of the question of LSAT is irrelevant. Can you give me a hand?
Hi haha,

I think you're comflating completely different types of questions! "Logical reasoning" is a question format, but there are multiple quesiton types within it. The one you just provided is an "Explain" question, which uses completely different rules than an "assumption" questions.

What resources are you using to study? The sticky threads at the top of this forum, and books like Kaplan's GMAT Premier 2013, will answer all of your questions in more detail than I can on these forums!
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New post 20 Aug 2012, 09:03
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.

Furthermore, ignoring the point above, answer A isn't even relevant to the first sentence. The argument discusses graduates having difficulty "demonstrating their superiority" to employers. This is ambiguous as superiority needs context. Is it in relation to those who have graduated 20 years ago, those who are currently graduating, or those who are currently employed? If it is in relation to those who have graduated 20 years ago, then A may have some connection to the argument, because lowering grades would negate the ability for some of the current graduates to demonstrate their superiority over those who graduated 20 years ago. However, in my opinion, the most likely meaning is superiority compared to other current job applicants. This seems to be the smallest assumption required to understand the argument and its relation to A, as there are probably very few graduates from 20 years ago looking for jobs now and there are probably positions open that need to be filled (unlikely that a company is considering replacing a current employee if a recent graduate looks superior). Even if students are achieving higher than students in the past, it is irrelevant because we are concerned about the ability of "top" students to demonstrate superiority to those who are currently graduating. Thus, the conclusion that "colleges must take steps to control grade inflation" as the only means of "restoring confidence" is not even weakened by the negation of A.

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.
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New post 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.

Furthermore, ignoring the point above, answer A isn't even relevant to the first sentence. The argument discusses graduates having difficulty "demonstrating their superiority" to employers. This is ambiguous as superiority needs context. Is it in relation to those who have graduated 20 years ago, those who are currently graduating, or those who are currently employed? If it is in relation to those who have graduated 20 years ago, then A may have some connection to the argument, because lowering grades would negate the ability for some of the current graduates to demonstrate their superiority over those who graduated 20 years ago. However, in my opinion, the most likely meaning is superiority compared to other current job applicants. This seems to be the smallest assumption required to understand the argument and its relation to A, as there are probably very few graduates from 20 years ago looking for jobs now and there are probably positions open that need to be filled (unlikely that a company is considering replacing a current employee if a recent graduate looks superior). Even if students are achieving higher than students in the past, it is irrelevant because we are concerned about the ability of "top" students to demonstrate superiority to those who are currently graduating. Thus, the conclusion that "colleges must take steps to control grade inflation" as the only means of "restoring confidence" is not even weakened by the negation of A.

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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New post 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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New post 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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Re: Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their  [#permalink]

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New post 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.

You said "you need to focus on the reason for rising grades," but this is wrong. For others who are reading this, don't develop tunnel vision. Pre-thinking the right answer is a good strategy to understand the weaknesses of an argument, but it often leads to tunnel-vision and trap answers if the test-taker is not careful. You need to be open-minded, because sometimes you will often pre-think and end up not seeing your prediction in the answer choices. Other times, you will pre-think a trap answer (they know how to trick you) and end up choosing it without analyzing it. Additionally, no matter how great an answer looks, you have to be able to point out why the answer is wrong, not why it is right. Without such a critical approach, you will never master the tougher questions and will continually feel like you always get it down to 2 and choose the wrong one (this is a common problem that I have fixed many times for LSAT students).

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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Re: Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their  [#permalink]

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New post 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: Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their  [#permalink]

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New post 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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New post 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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Re: Top college graduates are having more difficulty demonstrating their &nbs [#permalink] 29 Aug 2012, 21:17

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