school. ASVAB includes eight sections: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, auto and shop information, mathematics, mechanical comprehension, and electronics information.
Scores are reported in each area, and a simple equation is used to calculate a raw score, which is converted into a percentile score. Test takers also receive composite scores in verbal ability, math ability, and academic ability. Minimum percentile scores are required for enlistment; combinations of scores from the eight areas are used to qualify test takers for specialties in each branch of the military.
Readers wishing to get a sense of the types of items on ASVAB are encouraged to look at an ASVAB test-preparation book, such as ASVAB, The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, 2004 Edition (Simon and Schuster).
The ASVAB exam is an appropriate instrument for the military to assess a broad range of knowledge and abilities among high school students and young adults. The sections on spatial reasoning, mechanical comprehension, and auto and shop information seem relevant to technological literacy. Despite the emphasis on technological topics, however, most of the items are very narrow in scope and require only factual recall or low-level application of knowledge. The auto and shop questions favor males, who tend to have more exposure in these areas.
Richard Kimbell, et al. at the Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths College, University of London, with funding from the U.K. Department of Education and Science