Students Take ASVAB

Students Take ASVAB

Hannah Wyman, Co-Editor

The large group instruction hall of James W. Parker Middle School was full of 108 seniors and juniors taking the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB, test on October 26. This marks only the second year that the ASVAB has been taken by students at General McLane. Previously, the school had run a pilot with about only 40 students.

Dr. Faith Durden, program manager for the ASVAB career exploration program, presented at GMHS this past Wednesday to help students utilize resources and interpret their test scores. She explained further, “The ASVAB career exploration program is a career program for students. It’s a nationally known assessment that measures student skill in eight different areas and comes up with career exploration scores that students can use to determine minimum qualifications for their particular skill level and look at the skills required for jobs.”

Mr. Korb, a Navy veteran, has been a big advocate for the test.  He arranged for the text to be administered at GM and encouraged students to take it. Many students were wary to do so due to unfamiliarity with the test and the two hour time commitment which caused them to miss their morning classes. However, Mr. Korb believes that it will help in the long run, “I felt like you had an experience as a sophomore in Career Choices and now you’re seniors and people are struggling. I talk to a lot of students, many students are just struggling with what they want to do in the future so I felt like this is another tool or another piece of the puzzle that they can use to help them figure out what makes sense for them to study in the future and try to do with their lives.”

Eight sections make up the ASVAB. While there are the traditional science, math, and English parts, there also appear sections focused on STEM areas such as electronics, auto and shop, and mechanical comprehension. According to Dr. Durden, “This is the only national assessment that measures student skill in those specific STEM areas.”

Urging students to participate in testing their interests and skills, Mr. Korb adamantly put, “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s just a military test, that’s not why we do it.” In fact, it’s quite a common misconception that the ASVAB is a program that’s used only for students going into the military. Dr. Durden stated that, “Thirty years ago the Department of Defense did substantial research and discovered that not only the assessment itself can predict success in military careers but it is valid and reliable enough to predict success in all careers.” Due to this, the Department of Defense created an entire career exploration program so that all students could benefit from the resource, not just those going into the military. Along with the test scores and access to the ASVAB program website, students could also see what percentile they were for each section by gender, school, and regional average.

Overall feedback from the test has been positive. The regional average score is 46. This consists of 280 high schools in western New York and 3 counties in Pennsylvania. General McLane saw an average score of 60. Mr. Korb stated that he is “really really happy with the results.” With plans to continue offering the ASVAB in years to come, many students and teachers alike can see the benefits in taking the test. One of which being Mr. Vath who proclaimed, “I think [the test] is good, I think we’ll get a higher proportion of students on the right career path earlier… Let’s say we get five kids on the right career path straight out of high school, it’s worth it.”