The ASVAB is the military’s 3-hour enlistment exam. About 700,000 students in 12,000 high schools take the ASVAB across the country every year. In Maine, 3,587 took the test in 91 high schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
Military regulations say the primary purpose of the ASVAB “Career Exploration Program” is to find leads for recruiters. See Page 6 of the Military Recruiter Handbook Meanwhile, the program is marketed by the military as a free public service to help children decide on civilian career paths.
The ASVAB provides coveted information the Pentagon cannot purchase or find on social media regarding the cognitive abilities of youth. The US Military Entrance Command has virtual recruiting battalions that collect information on America’s children. They know, for instance, that Johnny loves to spend time fishing on the lake at the camp, that he drives a 12-year-old Ford pick-up, that he can bench press 140 and that his girl friend doesn’t want him to join. However, the recruiting command doesn’t know how smart Johnny is. That’s because they’re blocked by FERPA from accessing educational records, and that’s where the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program comes in.
ASVAB test results may be used for enlistment purposes for up to two years, meaning that high school juniors and seniors may use their passing results to enlist. A student only needs to score a 31 on the ASVAB to join the Army. A 31 is comparable to an 8th grade level. Some states, like New Jersey, allow students to substitute the ASVAB for mandatory exit exams and will award a diploma if a student scores a 31.
It should be noted that the military is slowly chipping away at state laws across the country to mandate the test or include it as a mandatory career-placement assessment. The military is also working with state legislatures to provide access to all academic records during a student’s entire academic career, as they have done in Kentucky.
The military proctors the test with the assistance of school staff. If the schools gave the ASVAB, the results would be deemed to be educational records and thus, subject to FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that calls for parental consent before information on children is released to third parties. Unless you live in Maryland, Hawaii, and New Hampshire, ASVAB results are the only student information leaving your state's classrooms without allowing for parental consent.
Students in more than a thousand high schools across the country were required to take the ASVAB while others were encouraged to do so during the 2015-16 academic year. The results obtained by us through FOIA requests show that Maine does not require students to take the test, although students are encouraged to take it.
The data reported by the Pentagon http://www.studentprivacy.org/maine.html is questionable, however. For instance, Calais High School is reported to have tested 45 Juniors. The total enrollment of the school district for grades 7 through 12 is 282, which comes to an average of 47 children per grade. Did all of the juniors at Calais volunteer to take the exam? That’s the military’s claim.
The Maine Department of Education is not telling the entire truth regarding the purpose of the test. It also fails to address privacy concerns regarding the release of student information without parental knowledge or consent. https://mainedoenews.net/2012/07/23/asvab-career-test/
To prevent testing information from reaching recruiters, schools must tell the military before the test that ASVAB Release Option 8 must be used for all students.
Release Option 8 means the military can’t use the results for recruiting purposes.Schools select release options, not parents. 20% of the students who take the ASVAB in high schools across the country had Option 8 selected by their schools. Less than 1% of the students in Maine (28 of the 3,587) who took the ASVAB had Option 8 selected. Maine is the worst state in the country in this regard.
Maryland, Hawaii, and New Hampshire have laws mandating Option 8 while 2,000 additional high schools have selected Release Option 8 on their own.
See the ASVAB Counselors Guide – Page 14 for the military’s view on student privacy. The recruiting command argues that FERPA does not apply because the exam is proctored by the military, and therefore, it cannot be deemed to be an" educational record" described by FERPA. In a sense, we have a temporary military takeover of the schools when the ASVAB is administered. https://www.asvabprogram.com/pdf/ASVAB_CEP_Counselor_Manual.pdf
1. Collection of social security number. If a school administrative unit, a public school within a school administrative unit or a private school requests a student's social security number, the unit or school shall inform the parent or legal guardian of that student or the student if the student is 18 years of age or older for what purpose the social security number will be used and provide the parent, legal guardian or student if the student is 18 years of age or older the opportunity to opt out of providing the social security number. [ 2017, c. 247, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Deletion of social security number. A school administrative unit, a public school within a school administrative unit or a private school that collects a student's social security number shall delete the student's social security number from the student's records once the student is no longer enrolled in the school administrative unit, the public school within a school administrative unit or private school.