How Effective Are Military Academy Admission Standards?
Jul 22, 2016
This report examines admission standards at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and officer outcomes to evaluate whether the USAFA admissions formula should be adjusted. USAFA admissions are partly determined based on scores calculated as a weighted combination of three elements: academic composite, leadership composite, and selection panel score. The data included records on the nearly 35,000 cadets who attended USAFA from 1980 to 2011.
Selecting for Success at the Air Force Academy and as an Officer
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This report examines admission standards at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and officer outcomes to evaluate whether the USAFA admissions formula should be adjusted. USAFA admissions are partly determined based on scores calculated as a weighted combination of three elements: academic composite, leadership composite, and selection panel score. The authors explored relationships between various admissions factors (SAT/ACT composite scores, high school rank divided by class size, selection composite score, leadership composite score, academic composite score, and selection panel score) and USAFA and officer outcomes (grade point average; failure to graduate for academic reasons; failure to graduate because of a desire for a career change; military performance average; overall performance average; and promotion to O-4, O-5, and O-6). The data included records on the nearly 35,000 cadets who attended USAFA from 1980 to 2011 from three Air Force data sources: USAFA registrar admissions records, USAFA cadet records, and Air Force personnel records. Recommendations include removing the selection panel score from the selection composite formula, collecting additional information on applicants, and improving data retention and maintenance.
Overview of USAFA's Admissions Process and Available Data
Components of the Admissions Process
Statistical Approach and Data Sources
Regression Analysis Results
Average Marginal Effects, Unstandardized Beta Coefficients, and Fit Indexes
Means and Standard Deviations for Each Analysis Population
Estimating New Recommended Formula Weights
This research was sponsored by the Director of Accession Policy in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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