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
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.
#13 - Educator: Reducing class sizes in our school district
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?
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,
And e is right because, when negated, it suggests that qualified teachers could come and therefore there would be no shortage. Is that right?
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:
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?
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.
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
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!!
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,
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!