Another Passage-based question

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freestyler01
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Reducing class sizes in UK primary schools to 20 pupils would be very expensive and would produce little improvement in children’s education. This is confirmed by evidence from the USA. In the 1990s class sizes were reduced in California because the state had been ranked 49th out of 50 states in the reading ability of 9 to 10 year olds. Ten years and $50 billion later, California had risen only to 48th out of 50. If class sizes are reduced, more teachers are needed. Thus, in the UK, candidates with lower qualifications would have to be recruited, since there are already only 1.2 applicants for each teaching post. What is important is not whether there are 20 or 30 children in a classroom, but whether there is one good teacher. Countries whose children do well at school are those that recruit their teachers from the brightest graduates.

Which one of the following is not an assumption underlying the above argument?

A. Candidates with lower qualifications are unlikely to be good teachers.
B. Expensive schemes aimed at improving education cannot be justified.
C. Other states in the USA had not significantly improved children’s reading ability.
D. Being taught by the brightest graduates improves pupils’ performance.

How is C. an assumption underlying the argument? How can one conclude anything about other states in the US? They could have improved their children's reading or not at all. All that is mentioned is California did not improve its children's reading ability. We have no idea about other states. Could someone explain why C is not the answer?
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gjd800
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I suspect that it's because the passage explicitly says that evidence from the USA proves this, and then gives Cali as the example. Remember that we are dealing with assumptions of the argument, and so the assumption might be that had other States done better than Cali, the evidence from the USA would not support this line of argument.

In other words, this argument assumes that no State did better because it uses the Cali example. A good faith argument would have used a better example should one have been evident, so we can infer that no States did much better than Cali in improving literacy

Did they give B as the answer? That's what I'd have picked, I think.
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freestyler01
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Yes, they gave B as the answer, but why would you choose B?

Regarding C, other states did better than California (California "had been ranked 49th out of 50 states in the reading ability of 9 to 10 year olds."), but significantly better or not is unclear. You're saying the assumption could have come from the statement that the evidence from the US supports the argument. To make the assumption, from that statement, would require one to assume that California is some state representative of the entire US. How could one ever make that generalization?
Last edited by freestyler01; 1 month ago
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gjd800
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(Original post by freestyler01)
Yes, they gave B as the answer, but why would you choose B?

Regarding C, other states did better than California (California "had been ranked 49th out of 50 states in the reading ability of 9 to 10 year olds."), but significantly better or not is unclear. You're saying the assumption could have come from the statement that the evidence from the US supports the argument. To make the assumption, from that statement, would require one to assume that California is some state representative of the entire US. How could one ever make that generalization?
You can only go on what the argument states, and you need to take it as good faith, I.e at face value. Additionally, you are confusing what is being asked. The overall ranking is immaterial what is important is the change in student attainment during the intervention period, I.e. how big a change is there in student attainment between year 1 with no govt programme and year 4 with govt programme. We can infer that the govt programme made no significant difference in any State.

We know this because the argument implies that Cali is representative of the US (it basically explicitly states that), thus this point is clearly an assumption of the argument: the evidence from the US is x, here is an example from California

The answer is B because the argument only claims that this particular govt intervention is not justified (and cost is not the deciding factor, efficacy is). It does not claim, imply, or assume that all govt intervention is unjustified, only that this specific one is not justified.

Does that make sense?
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