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Improving Selection, Classification, and Promotion Systems for Army Enlisted Personnel

Improving Selection, Classification, and Promotion Systems for Army Enlisted Personnel

Since the late 1990s, HumRRO has conducted a series of projects for the US Army Research Institute for the Social and Behavioral Sciences aimed at developing new and improved testing systems to support selection, classification, reclassification, and promotion for Army enlisted jobs. All of this work is geared to support personnel needs as they are expected to develop over the next 15-20 years, as well as to meet the Army’s more immediate personnel needs.

HumRRO began by conducting a future-oriented job analysis to identify the requirements of Army enlisted jobs in general (across enlisted ranks) as well as for several specific entry-level soldier jobs (e.g., military police). We then developed a number of state-of-the-art assessments to measure the skills, abilities, and other characteristics required to perform Army jobs both now and in the future.

The pre-enlistment assessments include self-report temperament measures, measures of job-related interests and values, and psychomotor tests. Assessments with potential for use in the promotion system include computer-based job knowledge tests, a situational judgment test, semi-structured interview, and records of relevant experiences and activities. We conducted concurrent and longitudinal validation studies to support the use of these assessments. Criterion measures include supervisor and peer performance ratings, computer-based job knowledge tests, a criterion situational judgment test, an attitude survey tapping such constructs as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and attrition. We also conducted research to examine the extent to which the self-report predictor measures are resistant to coaching and response distortion.

In companion lines of research, HumRRO has investigated the feasibility of instituting periodic computer-based job assessments for soldiers in over 200 Army jobs. Test scores could then be used as part of the promotion process as well as to support future validation research.

HumRRO also developed prototype job knowledge tests that could be used to help reclassify soldiers into new jobs for which they have job experience but not necessarily formal training. Finally, we are investigating ways in which the Army’s occupational analysis system can be improved to support the needs of selection and classification research.

The Army can prepare for Future Force requirements by using the tools developed in these projects to identify individuals best-suited to perform Army jobs. It can also expand the characteristics measured during entry-level selection and promotion processes, beyond measures of aptitude and achievement. Furthermore, it can use information from these studies to improve on methods for classifying and re-classifying Soldiers as different types of jobs become more and less important over time.

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