History of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) 1974-1980
ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY WORKING GROUP
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On February 19, 1980, and March 10, 1980, Mr. Robert B. Pirie, Assistant Secretary of Defense Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics presented the Department of Defense DoD Manpower Overview Statement to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, respectively. In it, Mr. Pirie informed the Committees that he had learned that there are problems with the norms of the DoD enlistment eligibility test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery ASVAB. Norms are simply conversion tables that tie a tests raw scores to some known reference population. Raw scores on a test are by themselves meaningless. They must be normed against the scores of a standardization sample. In the case of the ASVAB, the norms allow DoD to track the mental ability of its enlistments across time in order to determine the relative quality of new recruits. If the norms are inaccurately translating raw scores to standard scores, then DoD would not be able to evaluate the quality of its new recruits against the quality of those who had served in the past. For that reason, it is imperative that the test norms be accurate. Since Mr. Piries testimony, there has been widespread interest in the ASVAB and its norms. This report presents the history of the test including discussions of its development, norming, and implementation.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations