Meritocracy is another system of social stratification in which personal effort—or merit—determines social standing. High levels of effort will lead to a high social position, and vice versa. The concept of meritocracy is an ideal—that is, a society has never existed where social rank was based purely on merit. Because of the complex structure of societies, processes like socialization, and the realities of economic systems, social standing is influenced by multiple factors, not merit alone. Inheritance and pressure to conform to norms, for instance, disrupt the notion of a pure meritocracy. Sociologists see aspects of meritocracies in modern societies when they study the role of academic performance and job performance, and the systems in place for evaluating and rewarding achievement in these areas.

1. Which of the following best explains meritocracy?

Select the Correct Answer:
An economic system based on one’s personal achievements
A very realistic social system that is based entirely on one’s merits and accomplishments
A society in which complicated social structures are affected by multiple factors
An idealistic social ranking system in which a person’s standing is based on their achievements


30 Reading Questions for TOEFL Prep - Group 3

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