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Foreign Language Recruiting Initiative

Foreign Language Recruiting Initiative

Army Personnel

HumRRO conducted an evaluation of a program aimed at recruiting foreign language speakers. Given the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the United States and the Census Bureau's projections for its continued growth in decades to come, the US Army conducted a pilot test of a Spanish-language entrance screening test. Using the results from this exam, the US Army allowed high-aptitude Spanish speakers with limited English-speaking ability to enter the Army, which then provides English language training to the recruits before they join their unit. This is referred to as the Foreign Language Recruiting Initiative (FLRI). The FLRI effort began by focusing on Spanish-speaking recruits, but later the program was expanded to include all non-native English speaking applicants.

HumRRO evaluated a FLRI pilot study that used the Spanish Wonderlic as a supplemental aptitude screener to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and the English Comprehension Level Test (ECLT) to assess applicant English proficiency. The results of this pilot evaluation were promising for the continuation of FLRI and resulted in a change in its status from pilot study to implemented program.

Subsequent to this pilot, the Army wanted to make FLRI accessible to applicants from all language groups. In response, we conducted an evaluation of two language-neutral tests that could be used in place of the Spanish Wonderlic. Given very similar results of these two language-neutral tests and the fact that one was already being administered to Army applicants, HumRRO recommended the use of the ASVAB spatial reasoning test (Assembling Objects) as a replacement of the Spanish Wonderlic in the FLRI program.

Finally, HumRRO provided continuing database management and reporting support for the operational FLRI program for four years of implementation.

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