The Death of Meritocracy: exams and university admissions in crisis

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 52 Number 2 (2010)

The Death of Meritocracy: exams and university admissions in crisis
TREVOR FISHER, pages 213-232
DOI: 10.2304/forum.2010.52.2.213

Abstract

The author argues that the debate on declining social mobility has neglected the role of the examination and testing system. At all levels of education working class children are failing and middle class children achieving whatever ability levels are involved. The article focusses on the A-Level examination and the controversy over the way the expansion of higher education has benefited the middle classes. The author argues the expansion of higher education in the 1980s and changes to examinations benefited the middle class. Further, new Labour reforms of A-Level, and 16-plus examinations to include vocational subjects, paradoxically undermined their own desire for meritocracy. Coupled with wider changes, notably tuition fees and the power of elite universities to control their admissions policies to favour the privileged, A-Level reform threatens to turn higher education back to the Brideshead Revisited state of affairs of the 1930s.

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To cite this article
TREVOR FISHER (2010) The Death of Meritocracy: exams and university admissions in crisis, FORUM, 52(2), 213-232. https://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2010.52.2.213

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