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Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System

Friday, January 10, 2020

What is it?

The Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS) is an innovative talent management tool based on non-cognitive personality and motivation assessment.

Authorized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Army is administering TAPAS to new recruits as a means to predict their performance, behaviors, attitudes, and attrition. OSD has authorized the Services to conduct a three-year accessions pilot study to use TAPAS as a predictive talent management tool.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

The Army’s FY20-FY22 study is part of DoD research evaluating the use of personality testing to supplement the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a cognitive aptitude test that evaluates applicant quality. The TAPAS was developed under the Army’s Small Business Innovation Research grant program and can measure up to 26 personality dimensions.

The 120-question, non-cognitive TAPAS test has been administered to Army and Air Force recruits since 2009.

The new TAPAS pilot expands on current screening tools, the AFQT, high school diploma and the Occupational Physical Assessment Test, in an effort to redefine what a potential Soldier will offer to the Army. This pilot program is designed to see how the Army can get best-fit recruits, even in jobs that now require slightly higher standardized test scores than the applicant achieved.

Participants must still achieve the required minimum ASVAB composite score to qualify for their desired specialty.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

This tool offers the Services the potential to expand the recruiting market, while increasing recruit quality.

Under this pilot, up to 6,000 applicants annually, from the Army’s three components, who score 45-49 on the DoD Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), have a High School Diploma, and who score in the top 50% on the TAPAS test, are exempt from DoD AFQT quality benchmarks in order to assess TAPAS effectiveness at new recruit screening.

The Army will continue its efforts to recruit high quality, extremely fit individuals who are capable of performing successfully as Soldiers.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army is changing how it recruits, retains and develops Soldiers. The Army People Strategy, with an emphasis on Talent Management, and policy changes supporting the wider Army Campaign Plan are establishing ways to improve all aspects of developing and maintaining the force at the individual Soldier level.

TAPAS as a talent management tool allows the Army to expand its pool of eligible applicants without lowering standards.


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JAN 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Focus Quote for the Day

Anyone who enlists must meet standards. Those who will enlist through the pilot program will be more qualified than what their cognitive test score says. [Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System] is increasing the overall quality of the Army.

- Dr. Tonia Heffner, chief, selection and assignment research unit at the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences