The "misnorming" of the U.S. military entrance examination and its effect on minority enlistments
J. D. Angrist
The score a prospective recruit must earn on the military's entrance examination was raised in 1980 in response to an error discovered in the score scale previously used. Raising this score led to a reduction in enlistments, especially among minorities. Recent plans to reduce the military have also had an adverse impact on service opportunities for minority applicants. This paper considers empirical and theoretical aspects of the relationship between entrance standards and minority representation in the military, focusing on racial differences in the proportion of qualified applicants who enlist. The results suggest that increases in test score standards have a large impact on minority enlistment not only because minorities have lower scores, but also because qualified minority applicants are far more likely than other qualified applicants to enlist.
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