SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 441: Answer and Explanation

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Test Information

Question: 441

6. An educational polling company wants to determine whether parents of high school-age children believe using an electronic tablet in the classroom will improve student learning. To do this, the company conducted a survey by sending 50,000 text messages across the entire United States to randomly selected phones with text-messaging capabilities. For every text that the company sent, it received a response to the survey. Which of the following best explains why this random sample is unlikely to be a good representative sample of parents' opinions on the use of tablets in the classroom?

  • A. Most parents don't care about this issue, and their attitude is likely to skew the results.
  • B. Surveys conducted via text messaging are illegal and therefore are not considered reliable.
  • C. There is no way to verify whether the responders to the survey were parents of high school age-children.
  • D. The survey was biased because parents who own a cell phone probably also have a tablet and would want their children to learn how to use it.

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

C

Difficulty: Medium

Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Statistics and Probability

Strategic Advice: A good representative sample is not only random, but also a good representation of the population in question. Here, the population in question is parents of high school-age children.

Getting to the Answer: Not everyone with a cell phone is a parent of high school-age children. For example, single and married people who don't have children are likely to make up at least a portion of the random texts sent out by the polling company. This means that, despite being randomly selected, the sample is unlikely to be a good representative sample. (Note that D also sounds reasonable, but the question asks for the best explanation that specifically addresses why the sample is unlikely to be a good representative sample.)

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