KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — One in every nine people in a town vote for party A. All others vote for party B. How many people vote for party B in a town of 810? Why is air less dense than water?
77 students at Kaiserslautern High School answered questions like these Dec. 14 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to estimate their capacity for military academic and vocational endeavors. Only this time, instead of pen, paper and fully-filled circles, the test was taken electronically.
The web-based test designed to be administered in high schools in the U.S. was conducted in Kaiserslautern, a first for Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA).
“The ASVAB Career Exploration Program (ASVAB CEP), Career Exploration Program Interactive Computerized Adaptive Test (CEP iCAT), is a form of computerized testing, which reduces the amount of time students are sitting for a testing session,” said Armour Taylor, Education Services Officer for the Army Education and Personal Testing Centers at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.
Shifting to a web-based format was able to reduce the test taking time to two hours, and students are able to start and finish the test together.
“The paper and pencil method required four hours to be administered and required score sheets to be mailed to the New York Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to be scored; Now the iCAT takes about two hours from start to finish with test results readily available upon completion of the test session,” added Taylor.
The road to digitalization was not an easy feat; MEPS, the Overseas Student Testing Division and the ASVAB CEP Program Manager worked together to ensure electronic testing could be administered.
“High school IT departments were required to complete an automation capability checklist to ensure their current internet capability and the school-issued Chromebook are compatible with CEP-iCAT software requirements,” said Taylor. “Because this is the first time the CEP-iCAT has been offered outside of the U.S., it required beta testing to ensure we had mission success,” he added.
The introduction of iCAT also invites more students to take the test, and opens doors to expand globally.
“With the traditional method, sophomores were not allowed to take the ASVAB, unless there were seats available at the end of their school year,” said April Kirby, School Counselor at Kaiserslautern High School. “There is also less out of class time because since this is an interpretive test, most students don’t need the full time to take it, and can go right back to class when finished,” added Kirby.
“The ultimate goal is to have all DoDEA high schools across the globe move to the computerized–based test. U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz is the test bed for the implementation of the ASVAB CEP and we’ve had great success,” said Taylor.
Taylor anticipates all DODEA schools in Germany to have iCAT capabilities in the next year.