|My opinion has been asked for a unique task - how to select which children should get a scholarship based on ability.|
The situation is this - there is a large school in Africa with about 1500 students from ages 6 to 12. The students come from wildly differing income groups, and some have no problems paying the fees, and some can just barely afford the fees. There are various programs in place to help the really poor off, but the school has to maintain fees to run.
The school would like to encourage students who are talented, but don't have a lot of money by giving them scholarships - i.e, academic scholarships.
But there is a HUGE problem - the scores of all the students is exactly the same as their family income. The richest students come out at the top of the class, and the poor end up at the bottom. So simply setting an exam and giving the scholarship to the best always ends up with the scholarship going to those who don't need it. All tests always follow the same curve, and are always directly proportional to the income of the family.
The teachers cannot be trusted to give accurate assessments of the children, because a lot of the teachers have family/relatives in the classroom.
How can this problem be solved? How can we identify students who have ability, but are not particularly rich? And using a system that is somehow fair and not completely arbitrary?