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Jeffrey

Not sure about how to answer for a couple of reasons.

First, the quoted paragraph addresses INPUTS to boot camp (i.e. recruits in "suboptimal physical condition"). However, your final question deals with OUTPUTS from the process (i.e. "graduates").

Second, the fact that recruits are in "suboptimal condition" for the Coast Guard does not say anything about what optimal conditions might be for Army recruits. The two branches might have different standards for physical condition.

Mark W.

Maybe the extra three weeks are swimming lessons?

Kaiser

I should explain what I mean by statistically improbable words. When I read something unrelated, like a novel or in this case, a book about writing, I sometimes unexpectedly find connections to statistics.

Jeffrey: Good points. Think about the current fad to measure teachers and student achievements, the value added models, and so on. They are essentially asking the question I'm stating. But of course, there are many factors affecting the outcomes. Indeed, inputs affect the outcomes. Given that most of these measurements are not on randomized samples, the difference in inputs is an important cause of difference in outputs. Those sentences provide fodder for all kinds of stories about why the performance is worse but ultimately they are just stories.

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