Tag Archives: Manipulate

Using Positive Statistics the Wrong Way


Immediately this picture draws our attention to two things, the words “worth it?” and the price tag on the graduation cap. This simplifies the whole argument of this infographic to the point where it can easily be picked up in a matter of seconds.  by comparing the large amount of debt owed by graduates and the huge increase in for-profit institutions to the relatively small increase in starting salaries, the author gets the audience to start questioning whether going to school is really worth it. This is done by short snippets of facts that are otherwise unsupported. One of the sources listed on the graphic is the College Board. On the College Board’s website they state, “The purpose of the College Board is to develop and coordinate activities related to student academic preparation, admission, financial aid, and success in postsecondary/higher education. In carrying out these activities the College Board is committed to access and equity for all students,” (https://www.collegeboard.org/about/governance/bylaws). This info graphic is using stats published by the College Board with the purpose of showing, “success in postsecondary/higher education,” to try and prove getting a 4-year degree is not worth it. By doing this the author takes the facts and statistics out of contexts and uses them to try and say that by not going to college you are somehow making yourself more unique and marketable. The truth is quite the opposite, when hiring for any job no employer would hire the high school dropout over someone with a BS or BA. That is the reason so many more people are going to college now, because even though you might build up debt by going to school, the investment will pay off with more lucrative job opportunities and better financial prospects. Just by scanning the list of sources, which are placed in very small print in the corner of the page, one can see how ridiculous it is that some would have any negative statistics about the value of getting a degree. Besides the College Board, who not only makes it their purpose to promote secondary education, but whose profit also depends on the interest of students wanting a postsecondary education,  the infographic also sites the Board of Education who states, “ED’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access,” (http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/mission/mission.html). By taking two such out of context sources and using them to prove a point contradictory to both, without using them as a counterargument, destroys the credibility of this infographic and shows how easily facts can be manipulated to try to prove the opposite point.