During the first three and a half pages of Lani Guiniers book she describes an advanced placement physics classroom. Guninier uses this setting to show how a student’s family background can affect their abilities to keep on par with other students in a world that depends so much on how well they score on the SATs. The reason for Guniniers book title The Tyranny of the Meritocracy is to describe in a quick phrase that the education system is defiled in the thought that every student is equal in the college application process based on just high school merit.
The truth is that students are accepted to universities based on two large factors, highschool grades and standardized testing scores like the SATs. Then there is the lesser third factor that colleges take into account is extracurriculars and background history. The issue with this is that when a student has a family with lower income they have less opportunities to excel in the standardized tests. There are multiple options for a student with disposable income to gain an advantage when studying for the SATs. Examples of these advantages could be the many preparation classes, practice tests,and private tutors. All of these SAT preparation options are quite expensive which makes them unavailable to a large group of people. There is the third factor that could help fix the shift in balance that the SAT creates. That fix would be when colleges take into account the background history and struggles that each student would have had to go through to score however they did on the standardized tests and in school.
The Tyranny of the Meritocracy was one of the more interesting reading I think we have had so far during this course because it described all of the challenges and differences that we had to go through to get where we are today in college.
What other negatives or positives are there to the standardized testing system?
How would you have dealt with the situation if you were the policeman’s son/daughter?