In this section you will read a passage which is followed by several questions
For the questions you are to choose the one best answer, (А), (В), (C), or (D),
to each question.
The use of multiple-choice testing in American society has its beginnings in the
idea of a meritocracy, that is, a society where the rulers or elites are chosen not
through their wealth or connections but on their ability or merit. This idea can be
traced as far back as the ancient Greeks. Even the ancient Chinese created
examinations for the purpose of electing government officials. The notion of a
society based on merit has always been favored in the United States. This has also
been a country where the belief in universal individual opportunity has been
Until the Second World War, however, elite selection through higher education,
and the opportunity for ordinary citizens to achieve their goals were separate and
unrelated ideas. The introduction of widespread testing which was both reliable
and valid meant that both these goals could be pursued together. This opportunity
occurred when the United States entered the Second World War. The U. S. Navy
decided to test new recruits in order to find which of them were suitable for
college education before beginning military service. The eventual aim was for
these recruits to be better able to perform higher-level military tasks.
Because of the large number of people who had to be tested, it was necessary to
use a test which could be quickly and reliably administered and scored at several
test sites simultaneously. On April 2, 1943, the first mass testing was administered
to 325,000 young men. The success of the program meant that educational testing
could be performed not just for elite selection but to give opportunity to the large
mass of ordinary citizens.