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I thought this was a causation vs. correlation flaw. I included my thought process below. Was my reasoning wrong? Thanks!


Why would anyone think students are getting most of the parking tickets?

Because it just happens that during the school year, when there’s a surge in students, police hand out more parking tickets than when they’re out of town. For this reason, they think one event is the cause of the other. In other words, the surge in students is the cause of more parking tickets. What they fail to consider is it might not be the students but local residents (who probably make a majority of the town's population), visitors, or even the staff at the university, who are responsible for the spike in parking tickets.
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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Exactly, ieric01! Well reasoned, and that should get you to the correct answer. Excellent work!
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I have a question.

Although, the wording in A is different from that of the stimulus and E, why isn't "a greater proportion" of kids the same as "more" kids?

Is it because the absolute number of kids can be fewer while representing a greater proportion than a previous one?

Like, previously, there were 50 kids and 100 adults( 1:2 ratio of kids to adults), but we can have 10 kids around now and there is only a single adult with them.

Is my thinking correct?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
PowerScore Staff
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Hi nivernova,

Good question! The ideas of greatest proportion and "more" are two different ideas. For example, you could have 1 adult and 9 kids, for a 9:1 kid to adult ratio. You could also have a different day with 50 kids and 100 adults, where you had more kids, but a lower kid to adult ratio (1:2).

The other problem with answer choice (A) is that it describes a changing relationship. As one thing rises (proportion of children to adult) the amount of popcorn sales also rises. That's not what we have the in the stimulus. In the stimulus we have two distinct time frames (school time/not school time). More tickets are given during one time frame (school time) than the other (non school time). The author concludes that most of those tickets must go to a certain population that is likely to be there during school time. But we don't know that is the ONLY population that can get tickets. For example, if it was a residential school, most of the cars could belong to faculty/staff, and most of the tickets could be going to them. That's the key error. We don't know the proportion of student tickets to overall tickets.

Similarly in answer choice (E), we know that there are more children around when kids visit, but we don't know the proportion of snacks to guests versus nonguests. Maybe a household has 4 children, and 1 guest. We don't know the proportion of the population getting snacks that is a guest population versus the home population. That matches our error in the stimulus where we don't know the population of people getting tickets who are students versus nonstudents.

Hope that helps!

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