Evaluation of the Armed Services Vocation Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

Author:  Alaina N. Talboy
Institution:  Saint Leo University
Date:  December 2011


Psychological testing has been used in several industries since the 19th century. At this time, over 100,000 tests are being produced annually with no signs of slowing down. The Armed Services Vocation Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, was produced by and promptly distributed by the Department of Defense (DOD) to promote career exploration. Currently, over one million men and women each year take this test to determine their career choice. The ASVAB is designed using the Item Response Theory (IRT) and can be taken by pencil and paper or on the computer. Scoring is calculated using a standard and weighted score. Research shows this examination to be highly reliable and valid, after previous errors had been corrected. Many recruiters say the ASVAB is a crucial tool for recruitment and would lose over half of their recruits if it was ever discontinued. Weaknesses of the exam include lack of parental consent, possible self-doubt, and elimination of postsecondary attendance. Further studies are needed to determine the exact negative repercussions. Errors notwithstanding, the ASVAB is a solid examination with proven successful track record. Future endeavors in this exam should only address the two issues previously stated.