Harvard Professor Says Focus On Admissions Testing Damages Higher Education Mission

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It's nearly the end of the college application season and, for many high school seniors, that means the end of a years-long process full of AP tests, extracurricular activists, volunteer hours and SAT prep — much of it a means to an end: getting into the highest ranking college.

For years, SAT critics have argued the test disadvantages poor students, but now, Harvard Law School Professor Lani Guinier is saying the test has hurt the mission of higher education.

She outlines that position in her new book, "The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America."

Lani Guinier will be discussing her book at Harvard Book Store Monday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.


Lani Guinier, Harvard Law School professor and author of "The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America." She was the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School and was nominated by President Clinton in 1993 to be the first black woman to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.


The Economist: An Hereditary Meritocracy

  • "The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem."

The Boston Globe: Harvard Law’s Lani Guinier On The Problem With College Admissions

  • "The 'testocracy' is the term that I use to describe the overemphasis by many institutions of higher education on the applicant’s ability to do well on an SAT or an LSAT or some other test that is presumed to predict performance in college. What these tests really tell you about is the financial stability of your family."

This segment aired on January 28, 2015.


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