World Beyond War - Data released by the Department of Defense shows the military administered its 3-hour enlistment exam to nearly 700,000 students in 12,000 high schools during the 2013-14 school year, a 2% increase over the prior year.
The Military Entrance Processing Command administers the exam, known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery,
An examination of the data raises serious issues regarding student privacy and the integrity of the student testing program in America’s schools. The three-hour test is the linchpin of the Pentagon’s school-based recruiting program and provides MEPCOM an invaluable tool in prescreening candidates for military enlistment. Students are required to furnish detailed demographic information and their social security numbers before sitting for the exam.
According to the data, 81% of the Juniors and Seniors who took the ASVAB during the 2013-2014 school year had their results sent to recruiters without their parents’ consent. School officials blocked the release of test results to recruiters for the remaining 19%.
The ASVAB furnishes highly coveted information to recruiters regarding the cognitive abilities of potential recruits. Recruiters already possess detailed files containing personal information on America’s youth, gained through scores of commercial data dealers and countless hours trolling social media sites and chat rooms. For instance, recruiters know Johnny has a crush on country singer Rae Lynn, plays Mortal Kombat, works at Jiffy Lube, plays defensive end, and bench presses 180. The ASVAB, however, provides information recruiters can’t purchase – or find online. The ASVAB shows Johnny struggles with algebra I and has a reading comprehension level of an 8th grader. The ASVAB completes the valuable virtual dossier that assists recruiters before first contact. Military recruiting is a sophisticated psychological pursuit.
The data released by the DOD identifies 900 schools that require students to take the test, although the number is actually much larger. For instance, North Little Rock High School tested 680, almost all of its juniors and seniors. All of the data was shipped to recruiters without mom and dad in the loop, while the Pentagon’s database reports that the students took the test voluntarily. (70% of the students are economically disadvantaged, and the school is 89% minority.)