Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 1972 Issue »

    Organizing the 'Meritocracy'

    A History of the College Entrance Examination Board

    Michael S. Schudson
    As higher education has opened to more and more students, the standardized tests of the College Entrance Examination Board, which regulate access to it, have attracted considerable attention. And for good reason: in the past two decades, job opportunities in the white collar and professional worlds have expanded much more rapidly than the number of blue collar positions. Because higher education is taken as prerequisite to the white collar and professional ranks, more young people have focused their ambitions on college entrance. College entrance exams arouse deeply felt anxieties, for it is important not only to go to college but to the "college of your choice." Higher education has differentiated as it has expanded, and colleges are distinguished from one another not only in curricular offerings but, perhaps more important, in status. Status is closely connected to how high a college's standards for admissions are, how "selective" a college is. The more selective private colleges, along with a few prestigious state universities, have the most active pipelines to graduate and professional schools, business, and government. For some students, a high score on the "College Boards" may open opportunities they had only dreamed of; for others, a low score may close doors they had counted on walking through.

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    Spring 1972 Issue

    Abstracts

    Stages in Language Development and Reading Exposure
    Carol Chomsky
    Organizing the 'Meritocracy'
    A History of the College Entrance Examination Board
    Michael S. Schudson
    Towards a Political Economy of Education
    A Radical Critique of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society
    Herbert Gintis
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