A meritocracy means taking the most competent and putting them in charge. Simple enough. But how does one determine competency? The problem is competence is determined ex post facto, through empirical evidence, in which case it may be too late. This means signaling is required, such as tests.
The “most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes merit in terms of tested competency and ability, and most likely, as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests.” In government or other administration systems, meritocracy, in an administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon their “merits”, namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations.
Hence meritocracy, in practice, often means rule by those who signal best, but a single word to describe this eludes me.