For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
These are sections, or sub-tests, in the ASVAB: Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), General Science (GS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), and Assembling Objects (AO), Auto & Shop Information (AS): * AI and SI are administered as separate tests in the CAT-ASVAB (computerized version), but combined into one single score (labeled AS).
A graphic view of the increasing trend in AFQT performance of accessions from FY 1981 through FY 1992 is provided in Figure 2.8. The more significant gains were in Categories I to IIIA, where the percentages increased from 47 percent in FY 1981 to 75 percent in FY 1992. Conversely, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of Category IIIB accessions. Most dramatic has been the decrease in accessions who score in Category IV—from 33 percent in FY 1979 to one percent or less since FY 1991. There has been a gradual decline in the percentage of accessions in Categories I to IIIA in the last seven years, from 75 to 65 percent.
In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines. Women can fly military aircraft and make up 2% of all pilots in the U.S. Military. In 2003, Major Kim Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for landing her combat damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II with no hydraulic control and only one functional engine after being struck by hostile fire over Baghdad.