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ASVAB and AFQT FAQs

Common Questions on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test and the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT).

What is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test?

It is a military entrance exam that is given to determine enlistment eligibility and job training eligibility. This test is administered to all students in grades ten through twelve.

What is the ASVAB Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score?

The ASVAB administered at high schools contains eight sections. The AFQT is a subset of the test and is based on the following four sections:

  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Mathematics Knowledge

Note that only the AFQT score is being collected (i.e., the results for all sections are not being collected).

Why is this being collected?

For the past several years, the California Department of Education (CDE) has been continuing its efforts to meet the State Board of Education’s (SBE’s) directive to expand the College/Career Indicator (CCI) with more career measures. Because the ASVAB AFQT was one data element that was recommended by the CCI Work Group and the Alternative Schools Task Force, this data is being collected for the first time this year to determine if it should be included in the CCI.

Is administering the ASVAB mandatory?

No. Each school has the option of administering the ASVAB to their students.

What grade levels are being collected?

The ASVAB test is available for high school students in grades 10, 11, and 12. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are asked to report AFQT scores for these grade levels.

Does collecting the ASVAB AFQT score mean that it will automatically be included in the College/Career Indicator (CCI)?

No. Once the ASVAB AFQT data has been collected statewide, it will be analyzed with the CCI Work Group, Alternative Schools Task Force, California Practitioners Advisory Group, and the Technical Design Group. These groups will make recommendations as to whether to include this measure into the CCI and what AFQT score will place a student in Prepared versus Approaching Prepared. These recommendations will then be provided to the SBE, and the SBE will make a final decision on this measure.

Is the ASVAB AFQT score being collected through the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)?

No. At this time, this data is being collected through a web application called the ASVAB Reporting System that is maintained by the CALPADS Operations Office.

Will students be automatically contacted by a military recruiter when they take the ASVAB?

No. Schools can elect whether to release the ASVAB scores to the military. However, students who wish to participate in the ASVAB but not be contacted by a military recruiter can opt out from being contacted. Schools can download the opt out form (posted under the Educators tab on the ASVAB Career Exploration Program External link opens in new window or tab. web page) to distribute to students. Schools should also work with the military Test Coordinator to ensure that these opt out forms are processed.

Note: If a school decides to not release the ASVAB scores to the military and opts out all of their students, this will not prevent individual students from using their AFQT score to qualify for military accession.

If a student opts out from being contacted by a recruiter, are the ASVAB results still provided to the school and the student?

Yes. Keep in mind that the “opt out” is opting out from being contacted by a military recruiter. It is not opting out from taking the test, as the ASVAB is not a mandatory test. Therefore, any student who wishes not to be contacted by a military recruiter will still receive their ASVAB results and will have access to the Career Exploratory Program. The ASVAB results for these students will also be provided to the school.

What if our schools do not give the ASVAB and we have no results to submit?

Schools that do not offer the ASVAB to their students are not required to submit any results.

I’ve heard that students who take the ASVAB are provided access to a career exploratory program. Is this true?

Yes. When students receive their ASVAB Summary Results, they are provided an access code to participate in the Career Exploration Program that has been developed around the ASVAB test. It provides students access to labor market and occupational information, such as occupation, education, and skill requirements; average earnings; and expected growth in a particular industry/business. It also encourages students to explore a wide variety of careers, including military and non-military occupations. Furthermore, this program can be easily integrated into the high school curriculum.

Note: While grade ten results do not count for military recruiting purposes, these students can still access the Career Exploration Program.

If grade ten results do not count towards military enlistment, should we still report grade ten results?

Yes. Grade ten ASVAB AFQT scores should be reported into the ASVAB Reporting System.

What is the status of administrating the ASVAB during the pandemic?

Last year in 2019–2020, ASVAB testing was suspended on March 15, 2020. The ASVAB has resumed testing for 2020 – 2021 for those schools that have been able to accommodate arrangements within COVID guidance. The Military Entrance Processing Stations are working with schools to schedule test dates through the end of the school year.

Who usually receives ASVAB results at the schools?

The ASVAB results, which include the AFQT score, are usually sent to the staff who coordinated the administration of the ASVAB with the Military Entrance Processing Command. This could be the head school counselor, principal, or learning director. We encourage Accountability and Dashboard coordinators to confer with the appropriate individual so that these results are submitted accurately and in a timely manner into the ASVAB Reporting System.

Do LEAs receive ASVAB results?

No. Based on federal restrictions, the Military Entrance Processing Command can only send the test results to schools, and cannot send the results directly to the district or the CDE. The CDE administrates the ASVAB Reporting System to collect the AFQT score.

Can a student take the ASVAB outside of school? And if so, would the school receive this student’s results?

A student can take the ASVAB at a Military Entrance Processing Station for enlistment purposes. While the student will be provided with their AFQT score, it will not be sent to the student’s school. Because the school did not administer the test to the student, the school does not need to request the results from the student and report the results to the CDE ASVAB Reporting System.

Our school currently does not offer the ASVAB but we would like to in the future. How do we go about contacting the military? 

One option is to go to the ASVAB Program External link opens in new window or tab. web page. On this page, select the link “Bring the ASVAB CEP to Your School.” This will alert respective Military Entrance Processing Station testing staff who will then contact the school.

Another option is to connect directly with your local Military Entrance Processing Station (or MEPS). There are four MEPS across the state (Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego) that provide services to specific counties. You can call the ASVAB CEP Hotline at 1-800-323-0513, which will take the caller to the respective MEPS.

At each MEPS, the Education Services Specialist can assist with overall program questions; school counselor ASVAB CEP briefs, trainings, planning meetings, and promotional/marketing presentations; and the Test Coordinator can assist with scheduling the ASVAB, data requests, and logistics.

When is the test usually given? And when does the school receive the test results?

The test can be administered at any time during the year, and the schools are given flexibility in scheduling when to give the ASVAB. Once the test is given, the results are sent to the Military Entrance Processing Station where they are scored. The results are then printed and Fed Ex’d to the participating high school within ten days. Note that schools can also work with the Military Entrance Processing Station to request an electronic file of the results.

My school cannot afford to establish all of the new measures that are being added to the CCI. This is going to hurt my school’s CCI score. Why are more measures being added?

Schools are not being asked to implement new programs. Keep in mind that there are multiple ways in the CCI that schools can demonstrate how they are preparing students for success after high school. The addition of this new measure allows the CDE to potentially provide credit to schools that already administer the ASVAB to their students.

This is the first time I have heard about collecting ASVAB scores. Has this been communicated before?

Yes. Over the past year, several presentations to various stakeholder groups have been made to indicate the intent collect this measure, including other career measures such as student internships, student led enterprise, and simulated work-based learning. The data collection of these four measures were included in the 2019 Dashboard Technical Guide.

Can a student in grade nine take the ASVAB?

No. Federal law does not allow ninth graders to take the test. Only students in grades ten through twelve can be administered the test.

Can the Military Entrance Processing Station provide historical ASVAB data from prior test administrations?

Yes. All ASVAB test data is kept on file for two years. Schools can request testing data for the current school year and the previous school year only.

Can a student take the ASVAB at another school? If so, are we required to obtain the ASVAB results from the other school?

High schools within the same district can work together to have one school host the test. However, this is a rare occurrence. When it does occur, the high school counselors at all the sites and the military test coordinator should be aware of this situation. Because the site that tested the students will receive all of the results, this school should work with the other schools to ensure that all the schools receive their students’ results.

It is my understanding that a student’s test results are only made available to schools if the student gives permission to do so. Is this accurate? If so, will my files from the Military Entrance Processing Station only include those that gave permission?

No. This is not accurate. Student do not need to give permission to the school to see ASVAB results as all the results are returned to the school.

If a parent does not wish to have their child’s results reported to the ASVAB Reporting System, can these results be excluded?

This is a local decision. The district/school can decide if they wish to report the ASVAB AFQT score based on parents’ requests.

Is this test usually administered to all students or just those thinking of going into the military?

This test can be administered to all students (not just those entering into the military). All high school students can benefit from being able to access the Career Exploration Program.

If a school gave the test earlier this year and did not request an electronic file at that time, can they still request a file from the Military Entrance Processing Station?

Yes. The school should reach out to their point of contact at the Military Entrance Processing Station. If the school tests more than once in a given year, they may choose to wait until the last ASVAB test is given to receive the electronic file containing testing data for the whole school year.

Can the Military Entrance Processing Stations provide the ASVAB data in electronic format to district offices to reduce the number of requests from individual high schools?

No. Because federal law only allows the Military Entrance Processing Stations to provide test results directly to schools, LEAs will have to go through their schools to obtain the AFQT scores.

Should we report student self-reported scores not provided by the military?

No. LEAs should only report data that are received directly from the military.

We only had five students who took the ASVAB this year. Should we report these scores or is there a minimum number of students that can be reported in the ASVAB Reporting System?

There is no minimum. Even if only one student took the ASVAB, the student’s ASVAB AFQT score may be reported.

Can students take the ASVAB only once in high school or can they take it multiple times in grades ten through twelve? And if they can take it multiple times, do I report all the scores?

Students can take the ASVAB in each grade, and LEAs should report the students’ results each year.

Note: Students who are considering a military career may especially wish to take the ASVAB each year as higher AFQT scores translates to higher level training and also bonuses in specialized areas.

If a student takes the test a second time in one academic year, do you submit both AFQT scores, or the most recent, or the highest?

If a student takes the test more than once in a given year, only the highest AFQT score should be submitted.

Should we report ASVAB results for tests administered this year only? Or can we upload multiple years of ASVAB data?

In this first year (2020−21) of collection, LEAs may submit separately the last two years of AFQT scores (2019−20 and 2020−21). Beginning next year, the data will be submitted annually and only the AFQT scores earned by the students in that year will be collected. Due date for data submission during the current academic year is June 30.

Does the deadline to submit data into the ASVAB Reporting System coincide with the CALPADS End-of-Year (EOY) deadline?

No. While the CALPADS EOY amendment window closes typically at the end of August, the deadline for the ASVAB Reporting System is June 30.

Will the ASVAB results that the school receives from the military contain Statewide Student Identifiers (SSIDs)?

No. The results from the military will not contain County-District-School (CDS) codes nor SSIDs. Therefore, it will be up to each school/LEA to match the test records received from the military to those in their local student information systems.

Can the military return the date of birth of each tested student to help us match students who have similar names?

Yes. Based on the information that students provide when they take the ASVAB, the military can provide the following data that will help schools/LEAs distinguish between students with similar names:

  • First Name, Last Name, Middle Initial
  • Grade Level
  • Sex/Gender
  • Date of Birth

If I have ASVAB data for more than one school, can I upload each school’s file separately? Or, do I have to consolidate all of the school files and upload only one file?

Because the system allows only one file to be imported, LEAs must compile the data for all of their schools and submit that one file into the ASVAB Reporting System.

I have already uploaded a file in the ASVAB Reporting System, but I need to add more student records. Do I need to upload a full revised file or can I just submit the new student records?

Any re-submission of files into the ASVAB Reporting System will fully replace the prior file that was imported into the system and overwrite the file. Therefore, please upload a full revised file that contains all student records.

I have more questions about the ASVAB Reporting System and the data collection process. Where can I find information on this?

For more information, please view the CDE CALPADS Update Flash #204 and the CDE ASVAB Reporting System Instructions for Data Collection and File Upload.

 

Questions:   CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office | calpads@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6738
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 24, 2021
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