Critical Reasoning Question 11-faculty/student ratios

Time and time gain, it has been shown that students who attend colleges with low faculty/student ratios get the most well-rounded education.  As a result, when my children are ready for college, I’ll be sure they attend a school with a very small student population.

Which of the following, if true, identifies the greatest flaw in the reasoning above?

A.  A low faculty/student ratio is the effect of a well-rounded education, not its source.

B.  Intelligence should be considered the result of childhood environment, not advanced education.

C.  A very small student population does not, by itself, ensure a low faculty/student ratio.

D.  Parental desires and preferences rarely determine a child’s choice of a college or university.

E.  Students must take advantage of the low faculty/student ratio by intentionally choosing small classes.

Think you know the answer?


The correct answer is C.

The evidence says that students who attend colleges with low faculty/student ratios get well-rounded educations, but the conclusion is that the author will send his kids to colleges with small student populations.  Since colleges can have the second without necessarily having the first, (C) is correct.

(A) claims that the author confuses cause and effect, but how could getting a well-rounded education cause a low faculty/student ratio?  Anyway, the real problem is the scope shift from faculty/student ratios to student populations.  As for (B),  the author never mentions intelligence at all.  (D) fails because it doesn’t point to a problem in the reasoning, just in implementing it.  And (E) claims students must do something extra to take advantage of the low faculty/student ratio.  Since the author never claimed the benefits would be conferred automatically, this isn’t a flaw; more importantly, (E) misses the real flaw, which we find in (C).

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