Reading for Thinking - Online Practice:
Drawing Conclusions

Copyright © 2005 Laraine Flemming.
General distribution outside the classroom and redistribution are strictly prohibited.

Directions: Click the appropriate button to indicate which conclusion follows from the passage.


In the 1960s and 1970s, the threat of the draft and opposition to the Vietnam War stimulated political activism among young Americans. Many college students, in particular, participated in sit-ins, protest marches, and other kinds of political demonstrations. Not surprisingly, young voter turnout was very high in the elections of that era. In the 1972 election, for example, 55 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 voted. By the year 2000, however, young citizens had become the group least likely to vote. In the presidential election that year, only a little more than a third of 18- to 24-year-olds cast a ballot. Therefore, prior to the 2004 presidential election, several media campaigns—including "Vote or Die," "Choose or Lose," "Slacker Uprising," and the MTV music channel's "Rock the Vote"—began promoting voter registration and political participation among young people. Just before the election occurred, the Youth Vote Coalition, a Washington-based, independent advocacy group, reported that 60 percent of all young adults had said they planned to vote. The actual number of 18- to 24-year-old voters, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), was about 10.5 million, or 42.3 percent of eligible voters under 25. (Sources of information: David Klepper, "Young Voters an Unknown Factor in Election," The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, SC, October 24, 2004,; Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement,

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Modern young Americans are as politically active as young people of the 1960s and 1970s were.

b. Media campaigns helped to increase youth voter turnout for the 2004 election.

c. Political activism is not as important now as it was back in the 1960s and 1970s.

d. For young people, voting is something their parents do.


Laws mandate that truck drivers can drive only eleven hours at a time, with a 60-hour-per-week maximum. Airline pilots can fly only eight hours in a 24-hour period, with a 30-hour-per-week maximum. In hospitals, though, medical interns and residents regularly work 100-hour weeks, including 30-hour shifts. According to studies reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, these sleep-deprived interns are prone to making more medical mistakes. In the coronary and intensive care units of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, for example, interns who worked 24-hour shifts and a total of 80 hours per week made six times as many diagnostic errors and 36 percent more medical errors-such as ordering incorrect dosages of a medication-than interns who worked 16-hour shifts and only 63 hours per week. As a result, many people claim that intern hours should be limited, because allowing severely fatigued doctors-in-training to care for patients can result in deadly mistakes. Hospital and medical professionals, however, argue that the establishment of mandatory caps on working hours could actually produce the very same effect. Surgeon Matt Martin, past president of the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Surgeons, has argued that limiting working hours limits residents' and interns' experience, "sacrificing valuable opportunities for learning and exposure to medicine." Therefore, when doctors-in-training work less, they do not gain the necessary knowledge resulting from long hours of continuous patient care. According to Martin, limiting hours would require extending training programs another year or two to ensure the completion of a new doctor's education. He also argues that medicine is not a 9-to-5 job and that doctors must learn to perform well under adverse conditions, including their own fatigue. (Sources of information: Matt B. Martin, "Mandates Are Not the Answer," USA Today, November 10, 2004, p. 11A; "No Shock Here: Interns' Long Hours Cause Medical Errors," no author credited, USA Today, November 10, 2004, p. 11A)

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Dr. Martin would be likely to advocate the elimination of limits on working hours for truck drivers and pilots.

b. Dr. Martin would agree that a 30-hour shift for an intern or resident is unreasonably long.

c. Dr. Martin would probably agree that a tired but well-trained doctor can still be an effective doctor.

d. Dr. Martin believes that current medical training programs are not long enough.


For some time now, computers and cell phones have helped teenagers build and maintain relationships with their peers. However, many young people are also using these technological tools to become "cyberbullies." Through e-mail messages, weblogs, and instant messaging, they pursue peers they dislike into the schoolyard and beyond, attacking them through insults, name calling, and gossip. Because many adolescents forward their instant messages to their cell phones, some young people are being subjected to constant harassment, no matter where they go. According to psychologists, this form of online taunting is particularly vicious because of the distance between bully and victim. With advanced technology, bullies can humiliate, embarrass, or inflict pain upon their prey without being forced to see the consequences. Add to the mix teenagers' characteristic impulsiveness, and the result is an increased and more brutal level of electronic attacks. According to Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees, online bullying is especially attractive to young girls. Wiseman believes that girls, more than boys, like to inflict emotional wounds while avoiding direct confrontation. (Source of information: Amy Harmon, "Internet Gives Teenage Bullies Weapons to Wound From Afar," The New York Times, August 26, 2004,

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Were cyberbullying teenagers forced to witness the consequences of their actions, they might not be so ready to torment their peers.

b. Among teenagers, technological tools like computers and cell phones do more harm than good.

c. Cyberbullying often leads to an increase in traditional, physical bullying.

d. Rosalind Wiseman would say that girls are as likely as boys are to start fist fights with their adversaries.


Why do thieves steal art masterpieces from museums or private collectors' homes? Unlike gold or jewels, a famous painting, easily recognized as one created by say Rembrandt, Picasso, or Degas, cannot be sold on the legitimate market, no matter how much it is worth. Nor can it be displayed as a trophy. Sooner or layer, word of its location would get back to the rightful owner. Nevertheless, criminals persist in stealing famous masterpieces even though some soon find out that the painting is a burden and end up discarding it because it can't be sold. Other thieves, however, try to use artworks in underworld deals, exchanging them for drugs, forged documents, or illegal weapons. Still other criminals use the paintings to gain prestige among their colleagues. In fact, stolen works are occasionally recovered because a robber brags about the crime, and someone tells the police in exchange for a reward. (Source of information: Sarah Lyall, "Stolen Art Can Reappear in Unexpected Ways," The New York Times, August 26, 2004,

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Offering a reward for a stolen artwork is a waste of time.

b. Drug dealers tend to be knowledgeable about fine art.

c. For art thieves, paintings are more valuable than other forms of art.

d. Art thieves can sometimes be vain about their accomplishments.


Adults in France routinely eat dishes loaded with high-fat cream, butter, cheese, and meat. They don't count calories or carbohydrates, and they don't spend hours in the gym working out. Yet, only 10 percent of French people are obese, compared to 33 percent of Americans. Ironically, the French also live longer and have lower death rates from heart disease. What is behind this "French paradox," as it has been called? Anne Barone, author of Chic and Slim: How Those French Women Eat all that Rich Food and Still Stay Slim, says that sense of personal style keeps French women svelte. While they don't restrict their food choices, they do consciously limit how much they eat because they want to look good in sexy lingerie and fashionable clothing. Of course, it helps that French portion sizes in restaurants are smaller. One study, for example, found that French meals are only 75 percent the size of meals served in Philadelphia restaurants. In the United States, a hot dog is 63 percent larger than a hot dog in France, and a croissant made in America is 100 percent larger than one made in France. Psychologist Paul Rozin says, "People tend to consume what is put in front of them, and [they] generally consume more when offered more food." Others, however, believe that the root of the French paradox is the overall attitude about eating that pervades French culture. The French don't gulp food on the go, eat at their desks, or take their meals in front of the television. They sit down to regular meals, usually with family members or friends. The French are also inclined to eat slowly, savoring the experience of good food combined with good company. Thus researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the French take much longer to eat than Americans do. Yet even though a lunch might last two hours, the French still manage to eat less than Americans do in a rushed, 15-minute mid-day meal. Plus, unlike Americans, the French do not snack between meals. (Source of information: Mimi Spencer, "Let Them Eat Cake," The Observer, November 7, 2004,,9950,1342296,00.html)

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Anne Barone would agree with Paul Rozin's claim that people mindlessly eat whatever is put in front of them.

b. If Americans ate out more in good restaurants, they would probably be a lot slimmer.

c. University of Pennsylvania researchers would agree that high-calorie, high-fat fast food restaurant meals are a major cause of obesity in America.

d. If Americans sat down to eat more home-cooked meals with their families, their obesity rate might decrease.

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