Patrick (patrickwonders) wrote,

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Bad Math on the Radio

Last night, on the radio, they did a piece about a new recruiting promotion the Army is doing. The new promotion is not available to everyone. It is only available to the Prime Recruits (I can't remember the term they used, so I'm saying Prime Recruits).

They defined Prime Recruits as those who meet both of these criteria:

  • Graduated a traditional High School (as opposed to just earned a G.E.D.)
  • Finished in the top 50% on the Army entrance exam

Then, they went on to say, Currently, less than half of the recruits fall into this category.

Umm... unless you've got some magical, Lake Wobegon thing going on, you're never going to have more than half of the recruits fall into that category.

Okay, it's quite possible that one of the following is true, in which case, more than half of new recruits could be Prime Recruits:

  • They mean: top 50% of anyone who has ever taken the test
  • You can still opt-out of joining the Army after you've taken the entrance exam
  • Really poor performance on the entrance exam means the Army won't take you

I hear this kind of thing all of the time on the radio. They define a category as some subset of half of the population, then lament that not even half of the population is in that subset.

Tags: bad math, radio

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