Book reviews: October 2020 round-up

by Chris Jackson

The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain’s Transition to Mass Education since the Second World War by Peter Mandler

This timely tome offers an apolitical overview of the education system and considers why so many people are attending university and the implications of this. Mandler focusses on deconstructing the legacy of the Butler Act – a piece of legislation which aimed to remove inequality from education and saw the proportion of free places at grammar schools increase by almost a third. This study is essential reading for those who want to thoroughly understand why we are still not living in a true meritocracy.

Crisis of Meritocracy: Oxford University Press, £25.00

What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Social Mobility? By Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin

Low social mobility in Britain is an increasingly pressing issue and Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter Lee Elliot Major and LSE Professor of Economics Stephen Machin consider what can be done to reverse this trend. This book documents the history of mobility since WWII and considers how family traits affect intergenerational mobility. The authors call for a shift in debates around this topic in order to establish a more just society.

Social Mobility: SAGE Publishing, £9.99

Is Assessment Fair? By Isabel Nisbet and Stuart Shaw

Following the exam results debacle, fairness in educational assessment has become a major talking point. In this book Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Isabel Nisbet and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, Stuart Shaw consider what fairness means in practice and how it can be evaluated. Drawing on international examples from the UK, US, Australia and South East Asia, this book offers a thorough commentary on fairness.

Is Assessment fair: SAGE Publishing, £24.99

Educating for a Characterful Society Responsibility and the Public Good By James Arthur, Julia Cleverdon, Nicky Morgan, James O’Shaughnessy, Anthony Seldon

What is character and how can educators develop virtues such as honesty and a sense of duty? In this book, five leading figures in government and education examine the ‘character’ of the public service workers on the frontline during the pandemic and consider how the National Curriculum can develop a sense of social justice and harness the passion of young people in order to work towards a stronger society.

Educating For a Characterful Society: Routledge, £12.99

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