MILITARY TESTING IN HIGH SCHOOLS
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is used by the military to test all new recruits.
The military also administers the ASVAB to 650,000 students in approximately 12,000 high schools across the country every year. The test is offered to schools at no cost and is marketed to them as the "ASVAB Career Exploration Program." The military claims the ASVAB accurately predicts future academic and occupational success, a claim disputed in the past by some test analysts.
The US Army Recruiting Command's School Recruiting Program Handbook says the primary purpose of ASVAB testing in high schools is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors qualified through the ASVAB for enlistment into the Active Army and Army Reserve."
The ASVAB homepage, http://www.asvabprogram.com/, and the widely distributed promotional ASVAB video, http://www.asvabprogram.com/home/clip/ASVAB_Promo.html, fail to clearly identify its connection to the military or its function as a recruiting tool.
The military uses the four-hour exam to gather a treasure-trove of information to use in a sophisticated psychological recruiting program. Besides providing recruiters with a student's contact information, it also provides them with a student's race, ethnicity, gender, birth date, Social Security number, and detailed aptitude profile, all of which can be used to target the individual with a customized sales pitch.
Federal and state laws strictly monitor the release of such student information, but the military circumvents these laws with the administration of the ASVAB. Of the 655,000 students nationwide who took the ASVAB in 2008-2009, 92% had their results directly forwarded to recruiters. Students in more than a thousand high schools across the country are being required to take the ASVAB. Informed consent from parents is not a condition for taking the test, so parents often don't know when it is being given to their children.
Military regulations do allow schools to administer the test without the results being released to recruiters. It is one of several release options briefly mentioned in a lengthy booklet available to school counselors. The options range from Option 1, which automatically releases student test information to military recruiters seven days after it is mailed to the school, to Option 8, which prohibits the use of test data for recruitment purposes. If the school fails to specify a release option, the military automatically selects Option 1.
Members of NNOMY and other groups across the country have organized successful campaigns to block the use of the ASVAB for recruitment purposes at individual school, school district and statewide levels. Use the links below to learn more.
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