ASVAB in the news
"School officials encourage students to take the test under the belief that the
purpose of the ASVAB is to assist students in exploring their various career options. We do not object to the administration of the ASVAB test; however, the distribution of the
enormous amount of data collected on the ASVAB to military recruiters is a serious infringement on the privacy rights of those students." More
"By not selecting Option 8 when it administers the ASVAB, the School District is violating not only
statutory rights, it is also violating constitutional rights."
L.A. Chapter, 2005.
Remember the 4th Amendment!
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
An illegal search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society considers reasonable is infringed by a governmental employee or by an agent of the government. More
Child Soldiers International is concerned by a range of American recruitment policies and practices that undermine the safeguards contained in article 3.3 of OPAC, in particular with regards to the voluntary nature of underage recruitment, the right to privacy of children and the requirement of prior consent of parents (or legal guardians). Child Soldiers International is also concerned by the extensive access to schools and students’ information by the US military, which suggests that the US government is pursuing the active recruitment of under-18s.
See discussion beginning on Page 10. More
ASVAB Bill Stalls in Connecticut
We're dumfounded witnessing the influence apparently wielded by the military in Connecticut’s General Assembly. Its influence runs counter to the sensibilities and civil liberties of the citizens of the Constitution State. Apparently the Department of Defense has such clout few have the courage or political will to oppose it. This is not what democracy looks like.
On Thursday SB 423, “An Act Concerning Student Privacy and the Administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery” was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for legislative death. Apparently, committee members have “serious reservations” regarding the bill. How odd it is that legislation designed to protect the privacy of Connecticut High School children should be re-routed through the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs!
A child can go to school in Connecticut, be tested by the Pentagon, and have tests results, detailed demographic information and social security numbers released to recruiters without parental consent or knowledge.
Information gathered as a result of the administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut’s schools about children without providing for parental consent. SB 423 would change that. The members of the Education Committee overwhelmingly thought it was a good bill, but some members of the veteran’s Committee have serious reservations. How does this work, exactly?
The ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 106 high schools in Connecticut and nearly 12,000 across the country. The 3-hour test is used by the US Military Entrance Processing Command to gain sensitive, personal information on 3,750 Connecticut kids and 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18.
According to military regulations the primary purpose of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter) is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors." Nothing in the records of the Connecticut State Department of Education or any of the public schools in Connecticut officially recognizes this fact. Instead, the DoD markets the test as a “Career Exploration Program.”
The Pentagon uses the exam to gather a treasure-trove of information to use in an astoundingly sophisticated recruiting program. The ASVAB allows the military access to a child’s cognitive abilities, something the recruiting command can't purchase or find on line. A child’s social and intellectual dimensions are combined to create a precise, virtual portrait. After the test is administered military representatives typically meet with youth at school to discuss their scores and suggest career paths. Later, recruiters make calls to the students, using the sophisticated individualized profiles.
Nothing in this legislation will preclude the military from continuing to administer the test in the high schools for enlistment purposes. This act will simply require a student who wishes to use his or her scores for enlistment to visit a recruiter who will complete a form and have the student (or parent) sign it. That’s all it does. The bill prohibits the wholesale release of student records.
When Maryland passed a bill like SB 423 that state’s top recruiter argued that the military command – rather than parents - should make decisions regarding the release of student information. The same has happened in Connecticut. In written testimony Lt. Colonel Michael D. Coleman, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Albany also took the position that his command – rather than mom and dad – should decide on the release of student information.
Lt. Col. Coleman writes that passage of the bill will cause children to lose the opportunity to benefit from the ASVAB Career Exploration Program. It will not.
We don’t have a problem with the use of the test in the state’s schools and we agree with Lt. Colonel Coleman that students benefit from test results and participation in the Career Exploration Program. Students, however, still benefit from the program when parental consent is enforced. It should be noted that both Hawaii and Maryland, two states that mandate parental consent, have experienced a growth in the numbers of students participating in the ASVAB since mandating parental consent.
If the measure fails here it doesn’t stand much of a chance anywhere else. And that does not speak well for the health of our democracy.
Why does society give the military a pass? We wouldn’t tolerate similar invasions of privacy if they occurred at the hands of, say, the Department of Transportation or the IRS. Shouldn’t we expect the DoD to function by the rules in a transparent and democratic society?
SB 423 – AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT PRIVACY AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY.
Fact Sheet for Members of Connecticut's Veterans' Affairs Committee
SB 423 – AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT PRIVACY AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY.
Information gathered as a result of the Administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut’s schools without providing for parental consent. The release of ASVAB data manages to circumvent the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (1)
SB 423 will require all Connecticut high schools to select ASVAB Release Option 8 for students who take the test. Option 8 prohibits the wholesale, automatic release of student information to military recruiting services. Option 8 is described in military regulations. See Table 3-1 - Recruiter Release Options (2)
Nothing in this legislation will preclude the military from continuing to administer the test in the high schools for enlistment purposes. This act will simply require a student who wishes to use his or her scores for enlistment to visit a recruiter who will complete a form and have the student (or parent) sign it. (3)
Evidence from states and local jurisdictions that have mandated the selection of Option 8 indicates that use of the ASVAB has increased because of its popularity as a free career exploration program.
The primary purpose of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter) is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors." Nothing in the records of the Connecticut State Department of Education or any of the public schools in Connecticut officially recognizes this fact.
School officials or military representatives select release options, not parents or students.
Federal “Opt-Out” legislation (Section 9528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - ESEA) requires schools to furnish military recruiters with a child’s name, address, and phone number, provided that parents have been given the opportunity to “opt out” of lists being forwarded to recruiters. ESEA does not regulate student data being released through the administration of the ASVAB. See Best Practices for ASVAB-CEP Administration published by Rutgers School of Law
Requiring Option 8 rather than simply requiring parental permission for students taking the ASVAB eliminates any financial burden and legal risk that would be imposed on schools and school staff if they had to gather permissions and monitor which students' data must be withheld. ASVAB Option 8 entails no financial cost, administrative time, or legal risk for schools; it allows schools to continue using the test if they wish; and it addresses the issues of student privacy and parental custodial rights.
(1) See page 14 of the ASVAB Counselor’s Guide. ASVAB records are not deemed to be student records and are therefore not subject to FERPA because the DoD administers the exam. These records, are therefore considered military records, not educational records. http://www.asvabprogram.com/downloads/asvab_counselor_manual.pdf
(2) Currently 44% of the 3,750 Connecticut high school students who took the ASVAB during the 2012-2013 school year had Option 8 selected. See the Connecticut data created from the national database received on December 18, 2013 from the Freedom of Information Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff FOIA Request Service Center http://www.studentprivacy.org/state-data.html
(3) From a Washington Post article on April 15, 2010 after Maryland passed legislation like SB 423: Douglas J.J. Peters, Maryland’s Chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Caucus spoke in favor of the bill. "Why not take the extra step to help the family make an important decision about their lives?" asked Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George's), chairman of the Senate Veterans Caucus and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. "It gives them something to think about rather than just doing something ready, fire, aim."
An article in USA Today after the passage of Maryland’s law puts concerns about an anti-military aspect to this legislation to rest: “Some argued that the measure was antimilitary. Baltimore County Republican Sen. Andy Harris said the legislation gives students the impression that they should be skeptical of military careers. "I think sending any message while we're at war overseas that the military in any way is not an honorable profession is the wrong message to send," Harris said. Del. Sheila Hixson, D-Montgomery, sponsored the bill in the House, bristled at that argument. "For me, it wasn't the military piece, it was the parental permission," Hixson said. "Parents didn't know what was going on and children didn't realize what was going on."
Pentagon Data on Student Testing Program Rife with Errors and Contradictions
Student Privacy Compromised by Massive Program
In late December, 2013 the Department of Defense released a database on the military's controversial Student Testing Program in 11,700 high schools across the country. An examination of the complex and contradictory dataset raises serious issues regarding student privacy and the integrity of the Student Testing Program in America's schools
The database was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Best Practices for ASVAB-CEP Administration
This new report from Rutgers Law School on the use of the military's aptitude test (the ASVAB) in high schools makes a compelling case that high school counselors have both legal and professional responsibilities to ensure that student test information is not automatically released to military recruiters. Download and share it widely, especially with your local school counselors, principals, and district officials.
The ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 11,700 high schools across the country. The 4 hour test is used by military recruiting services to gain sensitive, personal information on more than 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18. Students typically are given the test at school without parental knowledge or consent. The school-based ASVAB Career Exploration Program is among the military's most effective recruiting tools.
- Read More
THE ASVAB CAMPAIGN
The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy has been working to educate and convince school officials Read More
The Colonel vs. The PTA
The debate in Maryland’s General Assembly over the passage of the Option 8 legislation is best understood by examining the testimony of Lt. Col. Christopher Beveridge, Commander, 12th Battalion, U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command, the state’s top military recruiter, and Ms. Merry Eisner, President of the Maryland Parent Teacher Association. Lt. Col. Beveridge opposed the universal selection of Option 8, arguing that the military, not parents, should ultimately decide on the release of student information gathered through the administration of the ASVAB. Ms. Eisner testified that parents should make these decisions. The legislation carried. | Lt. Col Beveridge's Letter
Ms. Eisner's Letter
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich advises Ohio high school students they are not required to take the ASVAB. Although Pentagon data neglects to report mandatory testing in the Buckeye state, the practice is widespread.
State and local school officials are often unaware of the existence of ASVAB Release Options. The selection of Release Option 8 by school officials means test results cannot be used by recruiters for enlistment purposes without parental consent.
State #Tested % Opt. 8
Alabama 19653 3.7
Alaska 2631 6.8
Arizona 19881 0
Arkansas 14684 5.3
California 53836 29.6
Colorado 5525 44.2
Connecticut 3750 43.9
Delaware 1420 1.5
Florida 39063 8.8
Georgia 36246 0
Hawaii 4874 58.9
Idaho 6107 8.0
Illinois 8702 10.2
Indiana 12391 18.8
Iowa 7995 26.4
Kansas 4495 10.8
Kentucky 30527 10.9
Louisiana 12007 5.6
Maine 2887 1.1
Maryland 9933 77.2
Massachusetts 4028 43.5
Michigan 16058 13.8
Minnesota 12459 49.8
Mississippi 16933 1.0
Missouri 27195 2.2
Montana 4523 7.2
Nebraska 8130 34.8
Nevada 5062 4.3
New Hampshire 1175 30.3
New Jersey 6519 18.1
New Mexico 7240 8.8
New York 13333 27.9
North Carolina 19731 13.4
North Dakota 3817 0
Ohio 22168 7.5
Oklahoma 13168 6.8
Oregon 9300 57.2
Pennsylvania 24579 8.9
Rhode Island 548 41.8
South Carolina 15140 20.2
South Dakota 4244 0
Tennessee 20897 3.7
Texas 57003 15.5
Utah 9873 8.6
Vermont 367 49.3
Virginia 13914 12.1
Washington 11417 30.1
Washington, DC 378 0
West Virginia 4019 2.9
Wisconsin 8578 31.3
Wyoming 1340 22.2
American Samoa 716 12.8
Fed. Micronesia 1457 0
Guam 2527 25.3
Marshall Islands 522 0
Marianas 929 62.1
Puerto Rico 5663 0
Virgin Islands 1269 0
of ASVAB Testing
This spreadsheet with statistics from all 50 states and territories was compiled using data released by the Freedom of Information Office of the Secretary of Defense in December of 2013.
STATE ASVAB DATA
Click below to access your state’s ASVAB statistics.
The database includes the name and location of 11,700 schools administering the test, along with the most
current test date, the total of those who took the test, a breakdown by grade, and the release option chosen.
Click Here to access your state’s ASVAB data.
Click Here to access the entire national database.
The database was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It is full of inaccuracies, omissions, and contradictions.
The American Public Health Association calls for cessation of ASVAB testing for recruiting purposes.
"Recruiters infuse counseling offices with the ASVAB—to assist young people in making career choices (with scores forwarded to recruiters). Nothing in the Recruiter's manual advises recruiters to reveal the risks their prospects face, neither the physical hazards on the battlefield nor the psychological trauma and its aftereffects." More
U.N. calls on US to stop mandatory military testing
In early 2013 The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Obama Administration to "Ensure that schools, parents and pupils are made aware of the voluntary nature of the ASVAB before consenting to the participation into it." More