Nicholas Lemann on How Standardized Testing Failed Us
From the Bookable Podcast with Author Amanda Stern
Bookable features established authors and emerging talent in conversation with host and author Amanda Stern, perhaps best known for creating the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series at New York’s famous Joe’s Pub and Symphony Space. With an immersive sound experience designed around each episode, Bookable takes you on an audio exploration of a book—usually new, sometimes classic and occasionally obscure but always worth knowing about.
It’s been more than twenty years since the publication of Nicholas Lemann’s classic book The Big Test, which exploded the myth of meritocracy in a system blind to the inequalities it fostered. While systemic discrimination is widely discussed now, that’s a fairly new phenomenon. In this episode, author Nicholas Lemann and Amanda explore how a creation with noble intentions—standardized testing—designed to mitigate social discrimination ended up being tainted by the very same bias it hoped to end.
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Nicholas Lemann is Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia Journalism School. A staff writer for The New Yorker, his previous books include The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy and The Promised Land: The Great Migration and How It Changed America.