ERIC Number: EJ1023322
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
Is Meritocracy Fair? A Qualitative Case Study of Admissions at the University of Oxford
Nahai, Rebekah N.
Oxford Review of Education, v39 n5 p681-701 2013
This paper applies an original framework to disentangle the concept of meritocracy, and the relationship between meritocracy and fairness, in elite university admissions. In Britain, elite universities are regularly criticised for being unmeritocratic and by implication unfair, but stakeholders often lack a shared understanding of meritocracy and confound it with outcomes-based measures of fairness. Interview data from admissions tutors at the University of Oxford, viewed through the prism of Joseph Soares's ideological categories of organic conservatism, democratic elitism and social democratism, indicate that Oxford admissions are highly meritocratic. Thus the question arises: in a deeply unequal society, where academic achievement correlates with family income and social class, is meritocracy a satisfactory admissions framework? The conclusion outlines an alternative path of "outcomes-based meritocracy", as exhibited by the University of California, that makes significant inroads towards integrating social inclusion and academic excellence.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, College Admission, Admission Criteria, Case Studies, Admissions Officers, School Surveys, Semi Structured Interviews, Political Attitudes, Democratic Values, Social Values, Enrollment Influences, Qualitative Research, Academic Achievement, Access to Education
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom