Some data leads observers to believe that there is a cause and effect relationship when a strong relationship is observed. Students should be careful not to assume that correlation implies causation. The determination that one thing causes another requires a controlled randomized experiment.
Diane did a study for a health class about the effects of a student’s end-of-year math test scores on height. Based on a graph of her data, she found that there was a direct relationship between students’ math scores and height. She concluded that “doing well on your end-of-course math tests makes you tall.” Is this conclusion justified? Explain any flaws in Diane’s reasoning.