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Adoption Bias

This topic has 3 expert replies and 4 member replies
Rastis Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Adoption Bias

Post Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:30 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Adoption agency representative: It is true that eight of our last ten babies have been placed with parents who were personally acquainted with at least one of our staff members before initiating the adoption process. However, there is no truth to the accusation against us of favoritism; our decisions have been guided solely by the best interests of the children. Indeed, all ten babies' new parents far surpassed the adoption criteria set both by the law and by our own policy.

    Which of the following is an assumption on which the representative's argument depends?

    a) The agency's prior placements of babies with parents who were previously acquainted with its staff have not, in general, been more successful than those with parents unacquainted with the staff.

    b) Of those prospective parents who substantially surpassed the criteria for adoption, most were personally acquainted with agency staff before beginning the application process.

    c) For a time period equal in duration to that during which the data were collected, the average number of babies placed by the agency is close to ten.

    d) Most prospective parents who apply to adopt babies do not meet the agency's criteria for adoption.

    e) The agency will only place babies with parents who not only meet the legal and institutional criteria for adoption, but who in fact surpass those criteria.

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    Post Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:19 pm
    Hi Rastis,

    This CR prompt includes a number of small data points, which you might get "lost in" if you're not careful. By staying organized and taking notes, the logic behind this prompt is actually fairly straight-forward.

    The Facts:
    -8 of the last 10 babies have been placed with parents who were PERSONALLY ACQUAINTED with at least one staff member BEFORE starting the adoption process.
    -All 10 sets of parents who adopted these children far surpassed the adoption criteria of the law and the agency.

    Conclusion:
    -There is NO TRUTH to accusation of FAVORITISM.

    The Logic:
    At first glance, it appears that favoritism might actually have occurred, since 8 of the 10 babies were placed with parents who were PERSONALLY ACQUAINTED with at least one staff member at the agency. But we're told that favoritism was NOT a factor, so we have to find a way to conceive of this situation that proves/assumes that favoritism was NOT a factor.

    Since we're dealing with a small sample of data, the issue here is about representativeness. We'll likely need an answer that compares the 10 sets of parents to ALL of the parents who applied for adoption (those who were given children AND those who weren't). The easiest way to show that there was NO favoritism is to prove that all (or most) of the parents were "equal" in stature (meaning most/all of them knew someone at the agency). In that way, there couldn't be favoritism, since most/all would have known someone at the agency.

    Answer B provides an assumption that proves that most of the potential adoptive parents were "equal" (in the way that they knew someone at the agency, so that relationship would not have been an advantage).

    GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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    Rastis Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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    Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:37 am
    Why B is the answer is really confusing as it merely restates (almost word for word) what's stated in the prompt - 8 out of 10/most were personally acquainted. This answer doesn't seem to do anything.

    Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:05 am
    Rastis wrote:
    Adoption agency representative: It is true that eight of our last ten babies have been placed with parents who were personally acquainted with at least one of our staff members before initiating the adoption process. However, there is no truth to the accusation against us of favoritism; our decisions have been guided solely by the best interests of the children. Indeed, all ten babies' new parents far surpassed the adoption criteria set both by the law and by our own policy.

    Which of the following is an assumption on which the representative's argument depends?

    a) The agency's prior placements of babies with parents who were previously acquainted with its staff have not, in general, been more successful than those with parents unacquainted with the staff.

    b) Of those prospective parents who substantially surpassed the criteria for adoption, most were personally acquainted with agency staff before beginning the application process.

    c) For a time period equal in duration to that during which the data were collected, the average number of babies placed by the agency is close to ten.

    d) Most prospective parents who apply to adopt babies do not meet the agency's criteria for adoption.

    e) The agency will only place babies with parents who not only meet the legal and institutional criteria for adoption, but who in fact surpass those criteria.
    Conclusion: In placing 8 of the last 10 babies with friends of agency staff, the agency did not show favoritism.
    The correct assumption is WHAT MUST BE TRUE for this conclusion to be valid.
    Apply the NEGATION TEST.
    When the correct answer choice is negated, the conclusion will be invalidated.

    Answer choice B, negated:
    Of those prospective parents who substantially surpassed the criteria for adoption, most were NOT personally acquainted with agency staff.
    If a majority of the candidates deemed suitable were NOT friends of agency staff, then why did the agency place 80% of the last 10 babies with friends of the staff?
    The negation of B invalidates the conclusion that there was no favoritism.
    Thus, B is the correct assumption: WHAT MUST BE TRUE for the conclusion to be valid.

    The correct answer is B.

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    Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:13 am
    Hi Rastis,

    Answer B does NOT restate what it's in the prompt - notice the difference in terms.

    The prompt states that 8 of the last 10 babies were placed with parents who were personally acquainted with at least one member of the staff. This is a limited pool that focuses solely on parents WHO RECEIVED a baby.

    Answer B states of those PROSPECTIVE parents who fit the criteria to receive a baby, MOST knew a staff member before beginning the adoption process.

    The prompt focuses on 10 sets of parents who received a baby; answer B focuses ALL the parents who were considered (not just the 10 sets that received a baby; there could have been 100s of prospective parents).

    Answer B tells us that MOST of the PROSPECTIVE parents knew someone at the adoption agency, so favoritism really can't be argued. There were clearly some parents who knew a staff member but DIDN'T receive a child.

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    gmat_for_life Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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    Post Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:48 pm
    Hello Experts,

    Thank you for your detailed explanations. If an option were to state statements such as 'the remaining 2 parents were in no way acquainted to the personal staff' or 'Personal acquaintance doesn't necessarily lead to better adoption', would they have been valid assumptions to this question?

    Regards,
    Amit

    Top Member

    Post Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:25 am
    gmat_for_life wrote:
    Hello Experts,

    Thank you for your detailed explanations. If an option were to state statements such as 'the remaining 2 parents were in no way acquainted to the personal staff' or 'Personal acquaintance doesn't necessarily lead to better adoption', would they have been valid assumptions to this question?

    Regards,
    Amit
    Those are not valid answers to this question.

    The first, 'the remaining 2 parents were in no way acquainted to the personal staff', merely basically repeats what the prompt has already clearly stated, but coming from a different direction.

    The second, 'Personal acquaintance doesn't necessarily lead to better adoption', is almost just a restatement of the conclusion.

    When you are looking for an assumption, look for something that is missing from the argument, or a gap between the premises and the conclusion.

    Look at this argument.

    The pizza is gone. Therefore John must have been here at the house earlier.

    What's missing? There is not a clear connection between John being there and the pizza being gone, and there is nothing that excludes other reasons for the pizza being gone.

    Here are some assumptions.

    Nobody else came to the house and ate the pizza.

    The wind did not blow the pizza out of the open window.

    A dog did not drag the pizza into the basement and eat it.

    John would take a pizza.


    One way to assess possible assumptions is by using what's called the negation test. If negating a statement destroys an argument, then often that statement states an assumption of the argument.

    Let's negate the first.

    Someone else did come to the house and ate the pizza.

    Now the argument is destroyed.

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    pnwong Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:50 pm
    Good!

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