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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. This test is usually administered to high school students in grades eleven through twelve, but it can also be administered to students in grade ten.

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

The ASVAB contains ten sections. The AFQT is a subset of the test and is based on the following four of the ten sections:

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

Note that the results for all ten sections are not being collected and that only the AFQT score is.

Why is this being collected?

For the past several years, the California Department of Education (CDE) has been continuing its efforts in meeting 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.

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. In the future, if a decision is made to permanently collect this data, it will most likely then be collected through CALPADS.

Is administering the ASVAB mandatory?

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

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

No. Test takers are provided various test score release options and students can opt whether they wish to be contacted by a military recruiter.

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.

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, along with other details that will help validate the individual student.

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.

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.

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 new measures in the CCI allows the CDE to provide credit to schools that have had certain programs in place.

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

Yes. Over the past year, several presentations have been made to various stakeholder groups to inform of the collection of this measure, including other career measures such as student internships, student led enterprise, and simulated learning. Furthermore, the data collection for these four measures was also included in the 2019 Dashboard Technical Guide.

Questions:   CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office | calpads@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6738
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
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