Fort Benning Academic Skills Development Program aims to improve Soldiers academic skills
Soldiers attending the Academic Skills Development Program learn vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic, and test-taking skills at Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BENNING, Ga. − The Maneuver Center of Excellence has joined Training and Doctrine Command’s program to help future Soldiers be all they can be through an initiative designed to maximize their Army career potential.

Part of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course, the Academic Skills Development Program launched in early February as a three-week educational program for active-duty recruits. The ASDP’s objective is to improve vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic, and test taking skills, with the goal of improving test scores on the Armed Forces Classification Test.

"The ASDP is a great way for Soldiers to increase their AFCT scores, which allows for opportunities for schools and promotion following Soldiers' initial entry training,” said Maj. Matt Hepinstall, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, 197th Infantry Brigade.

The Army uses the AFCT to identify individual aptitudes and areas of highest career potential for recruits to pursue a particular career choice. The scores are combined to give a Military Occupation Specialty, or MOS, score.

"The ASDP is voluntary and offers the unique opportunity to increase Soldiers’ AFCT scores before attending Basic Combat Training or One Station Unit Training," said Hepinstall.

Soldiers who increase their AFCT scores may be afforded the opportunity to negotiate their contract to a different MOS for which they were not previously qualified.

Pfc. Simoes Bartow, recent ASDP graduate, said he thought the program was an opportunity for him to target his study more effectively.

“(The ASDP) broke down what I needed to learn to a specific level and taught me how to learn in a new way to be a better Soldier,” Simoes said.

Like many academic courses, the ASDP culminates in a final exam.

"At the end of the three weeks, Soldiers will take the AFCT. If they improve their scores sufficiently, they can potentially renegotiate their contracts and pick from an expanded list of MOS career fields based on their new scores," said 1st Lt. Randall Dunlap, Company D commander, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment.