to the top

#13 - Educator: Reducing class sizes in our school district

Administrator
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 6774
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:19 pm
Points: 3,447

Complete Question Explanation

Assumption—SN. The correct answer choice is (E)

Your task in this Assumption question is to select the answer containing information required for the
educator’s conclusion that reducing class sizes in the district would probably not improve overall
student achievement. The argument, reordered for clarity, proceeds:

..... Premise: ..... students receive more individualized instruction when classes are smaller

..... Premise: reducing class sizes in our school district would require hiring more teachers

..... Premise: ..... however, there is already a shortage of qualified teachers in the region

..... Premise: ..... and, education suffers when teachers are underqualified

..... Conclusion: ..... thus, reducing class sizes in our district would probably not improve overall
..... ..... ..... ..... student achievement

There are two different approaches to this question, each of which yields a strong prephrase,
though only one is tested. One prephrase is that the idea of student achievement was not previously
mentioned in the premises, and it is not inherently the case that greater individualized instruction
produces improved overall student achievement. Therefore, in one sense your prephrase is that this is
a Supporter style Assumption question, and that the correct answer may provide information linking
the idea of individualized instruction with overall student achievement.

On the other hand, this argument also has another logical gap distinct from the new information in
the conclusion, and so could be a Defender type Assumption question, in which the correct answer
will raise a potential objection to the conclusion in order to dismiss it, thus defending the conclusion.

A logical gap in this argument is that the conclusion that reducing class sizes would probably not
improve overall student achievement is supported only by the premise that education suffers when
teachers are underqualified. However, there is no indication elsewhere in the argument that any
teacher currently in the district is underqualified. While a premise establishes that there is a shortage
of teachers in the region, nothing in the argument states that only teachers in the region can be hired.
Therefore, an alternative prephrase is that the answer choice may defend the conclusion against the
possibility that teachers may be hired from outside the region.

The incorrect answers will not contain information required for the conclusion to be valid. Instead,
the information in those choices may support the conclusion while not be required for it to be valid,
may have no effect on the conclusion, or may weaken it.

Answer choice (A): The conclusion involved a probabilistic prediction about what will occur, and
not an opinion about what should or should not occur. Therefore, this premise regarding a principle
is not material to the conclusion and has no effect on it.

Answer choice (B): If some qualified teachers would be able to improve the overall acheivement of
students in their classes, then it becomes less likely reducing class sizes would not improve over all
student achievement, so this information undermines the conclusion.

Answer choice (C): This choice has no effect on the conclusion, because student preference was
irrelevant to the conclusion.

Answer choice (D): While this information would strengthen the conclusion, it is unnecessarily
restrictive and therefore not required for the conclusion to be valid.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. This information raises the possibility
discussed in the Defender related prephrase, that teachers may be hired from outside the region. If
this choice were logically negated, meaning that qualified teachers could be persuaded to move into
the region, then the conclusion would be invalid.
carnegie49
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:25 pm
Points: 0

Could someone please explain why answer choices A and D are incorrect?

Also, what is the negation of answer choice D? How does this negation not harm/make the conclusion impossible to draw?

Many thanks!
David Boyle
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 853
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:25 am
Points: 743

carnegie49 wrote:Could someone please explain why answer choices A and D are incorrect?

Also, what is the negation of answer choice D? How does this negation not harm/make the conclusion impossible to draw?

Many thanks!



Hello carnegie49,

For answer A, what does it say about teachers? For answer D, we already know being underqualified is a problem. A negation of D might be, "Hiring more teachers might improve the achievement of any students in the school district if most or all of the teachers hired were underqualified." Sort of an iffy answer, which would not help much, since the problem is about the shortage of qualified teachers.

Hope this helps,
David
rneuman123@gmail.com
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:29 pm
Points: 7

And e is right because, when negated, it suggests that qualified teachers could come and therefore there would be no shortage. Is that right?
Emily Haney-Caron
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:26 am
Points: 418

Hi rneuman,

Wow, you've been FLYING through questions the past couple of weeks! I'm glad to see you're studying so hard and so determined to figure out each one. I see Nikki already responded to a bunch of your questions tonight, and I've responded to a couple, so now I'm going to give you a challenge. Can you come up with the answer yourself, and spend enough time working it out that you feel confident about it?

I've noticed that a lot of the questions you ask are asking us to confirm reasoning you've already identified, and it makes me wonder if you're either struggling with confidence (definitely true for so many people; the LSAT is daunting!) or focusing so much on volume that you're failing to spend the time you need to review each question before you move on to the next one.

Dave Killoran has given some excellent advice to other students about how to approach review, and I want you to get the benefit of that great advice too, so I'm going to quote it here:

Below is the method I generally recommend for reviewing practice tests or problem sets:

Delayed Blind Review


1. After you complete the test or question set, immediately check the answers.


2. Write down every question that you missed or that you answered correctly but found to be a challenge, but do NOT write down the correct answer.

The first step here is to create a tracking log for each question type. We offer tracker sheets in all of our free LSAT self-study plans, so you can print some of those out or use them as a model for ones you create yourself.


3. Next, after taking a break of anywhere from a few hours to a few days, go back and review every question, including the ones you answered correctly. Your goal is to understand the question as well as possible, and to re-answer each question that you missed or felt was challenging.


4. As you complete the review of each question, make notes in your tracker as to the broad reason you missed the question, and how to correct that error.

..... Example: "#7. Didn't ID the causal conclusion. Next time underline the CE indicator."


5. If there is any obvious deficiency that's causing you to miss questions in the set you just completed, go study that topic immediately.

For example, let's say that you noticed that you kept mis-diagramming conditional rules in Logic Games. If that's apparent to you, go study that topic right then. The idea is that if you see that something is causing your problems, don't delay in attempting to address it.


6. Wait a few days, then redo the questions that you missed or that gave you trouble one more time.

After completing your first delayed review, take a few more days off from studying that particular test or set of problems. Then, after at least three days (but preferably longer), return to the question set and again review any question that was confusing.


7. If you still can't answer the problem correctly or figure out what you did wrong, consult an answer source.

After you have given yourself at least two strong looks at the question, if you still do not understand it fully, then consult an external answer resource. That might mean asking your PowerScore LSAT course instructor or tutor, reading the answer explanations in your Online Student Center, looking at one of our publications like the LSAT Deconstructeds or Logic Game Encyclopedias, or posting your question here in our LSAT Discussion Forum.


8. Every 10 to 14 days, review your tracker and note the areas where you are having problems. Then restudy the concepts in your course books, in the Bibles, or with your tutor or study group.


9. When you run into difficulty, don't panic and don't place undue weight on isolated results.

Your performance will naturally vary, especially as you complete more and more problems and tests. These variances are natural (see my article on The Casino Effect), and you must understand that subtle variations in your performance are natural.


10. If you do have a legitimately bad result (such as an unusually low practice test score), don't look at that as the end of the world.

Failure, while not desirable, can provide you with certain benefits. So, if you do suffer a legitimate reversal of fortune (and not just the random kind mentioned in #9), then make sure you get every possible benefit from that failure.


What will happen is a series of benefits: you begin to see your mistakes more clearly and the patterns therein, which can then be attacked, and you also begin to solve problems more quickly and with greater certainty. Forcing yourself to deeply analyze questions gives your mind time to ponder what is occurring, which will help the big concept and strategy blocks fall into place. Having these pieces come together from your own analysis emplaces them far more deeply than if you are told the answer by someone else.


So, I'm going to challenge you to do the above process with this question and a few of your other recent questions (I'll post on each of them so you know which ones I mean), and then come back and let us know what aspects of the question you still need help with (if any). My guess is that you'll find you can be a bit more confident in your own analysis if you spend more time and follow this process, but if you still find that you have a question, you may find that what you're questioning about the problem changes once you've really invested in reviewing it yourself.

On this question and the others where I send you back to this post, once you let us know you've done the process above and tell us what you still need help with, we can help walk you through it knowing you're getting as much out of your studying as possible. And of course, if you have any questions about the approach described by Dave, let us know that, too--we're here to help! I just want to make sure that us jumping in to answer questions doesn't hinder your learning by taking away from the invaluable process of struggling through it yourself.

Sound like a plan?
rneuman123@gmail.com
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:29 pm
Points: 7

Yes. I'm going to try it. Do you think that there is still enough time do this process effectively? I just finished the online LSAT course last week, but I'm taking the LSAT in September.
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2699
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,512

There's time, but less of it for sure. Compress the process down slightly - days into hours, perhaps.

The main thing that I see in your questions is what Emily saw, a lack of confidence in your own reasoning (which usually appears to be pretty solid). So, try this - ask yourself why you are doubting yourself. If you think the issue is, say, that the negation of the answer choice has no impact, then ask yourself why you would hesitate to believe that your analysis is correct? What is holding you back from saying "that's it! I rock!"? We can confirm your reasoning for you, but we won't be there to confirm it on test day, so you need to get to a point where you are confirming it for yourself.

With three weeks left until test day, the time has come for you to accept that you know what you are doing, and to just do it with confidence, even a degree of arrogance and cockiness, Come to us when you are truly doubtful, when your analysis has led you repeatedly to a wrong answer or has resulted in a long struggle before picking the right answer, and we can help show you ways to get past those struggles. If you aren't struggling, though, instead of asking us for confirmation you should be reconfirming yourself. Turn your question into statement - "is this why?" becomes "this is why". This will lead to increased confidence on your part, which will lead to faster and more accurate selection of answers and ultimately to higher scores. Doubt is the enemy here, so crush it beneath your heel and walk over its remains to victory!

Now that makes me want to go watch Conan the Barbarian. Keep up the good work!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
lsatstudier
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:31 pm
Points: 43

Hi,

I am wondering if someone could explain the function of conditional reasoning in this question. I have been sitting with this question for awhile, but I am not sure if I would choose E every time. In completing this question, I decided to diagram it like this:

Reducing class size --> hiring more teachers

shortage of qualified teachers in region (not SN)

smaller classes-->individualized attn

teachers underqualified -->education suffers

C: RCS --> not improve overall student achievement

I was hoping to choose an answer with something regarding overall student achievement. Wouldn't E be slightly out of scope?

Thank you so much for all of your help with these questions!!
David Boyle
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 853
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:25 am
Points: 743

lsatstudier wrote:Hi,

I am wondering if someone could explain the function of conditional reasoning in this question. I have been sitting with this question for awhile, but I am not sure if I would choose E every time. In completing this question, I decided to diagram it like this:

Reducing class size --> hiring more teachers

shortage of qualified teachers in region (not SN)

smaller classes-->individualized attn

teachers underqualified -->education suffers

C: RCS --> not improve overall student achievement

I was hoping to choose an answer with something regarding overall student achievement. Wouldn't E be slightly out of scope?

Thank you so much for all of your help with these questions!!



Hello lsatstudier,

E does introduce a new consideration, but that doesn't mean it's out of scope. It brings in a relevant consideration, i.e., that it's not only the number of qualified teachers locally that counts, but also the number who could be brought in from outside. And that does impact overall student achievement, by way of some of the things you diagram above.

Hope this helps,
David
lsatstudier
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:31 pm
Points: 43

Hi David,

Thank you so much for helping me! Could you clarify why answer E is better than answer D? I'm not sure if all of my diagramming is helping me reach E as the conclusion.

Many thanks again!