Total Tested 752,758 678,248
Total Schools 11,754 11,741
# Students Option 8 122,636 105,222
% Option 8 16.29 15.51
# Schools Option 8 2177 2408
# Schools Mandatory 1219 938
Pursuant to the FOIA request, the data released by the DoD contains a column that identifies whether the test was mandatory for students. The data shows that 931 schools required nearly 50,000 students to take the test.
Interestingly, military regulations forbid recruiters from suggesting the ASVAB be made mandatory. According to USMEPCOM Regulation 601-4, "School and student participation in the Student Testing Program is voluntary. DOD personnel are prohibited from suggesting to school officials or any other influential individual or group that the test be made mandatory. Schools will be encouraged to recommend most students participate in the ASVAB CEP. If the school requires all students of a particular group or grade to test, the Military Entrance Processing Command will support it."
School officials in several states are under the impression that ASVAB testing is mandated by federal law. For instance, counselors in Nebraska have reported they've been told by recruiters that testing is required.
Kevin Haake of the Nebraska Coalition to Protect Student Privacy explains it this way, "We'd rather not have the military actively recruiting in our schools but I don't see an egregious violation of civil rights when a couple of kids voluntarily sign up to take this military test. It's another matter when entire classes of children are told they've got to take this thing and all their information is shipped to the Pentagon without mom and dad knowing about it."
The line between mandatory and voluntary testing is blurred with U.S. Army Recruiting Command Regulation 601-107 page 25 Item 8 which ranks each high school based on how receptive it is to military recruiters. Schools are awarded extra points when they make the ASVAB mandatory.
Regardless of the perceptions of school officials concerning the voluntary or mandatory nature of the testing regime many principals and counselors are sold on the utility of the ASVAB as a useful career exploration program that assists students in determining career paths. Critics claim 16 year-olds are generally clueless regarding the "careers" they may eventually choose. They say the test fails miserably in this regard - and they're not alone.
The U.S. Marine Corps Military Personnel Procurement Manual contains the following, "The ASVAB is used by the Armed Forces for recruiting purposes and by school counselors for vocational guidance counseling. The ASVAB's ability for determining civilian job skills has not yet been proven." See Sec. 4104 3b (pg 237 of this document)
It's mind boggling.