Armed Services Practice. Army men

New Army Assessment Designs

Our new Army assessment designs were one of the largest psychometric test design projects of its kind. It involved many strands of Army psychometric test design: Army aptitude test design; Army Officer personality test design; and Army career test design. The Army situational test design strand, which Rob Williams Assessment Ltd led, encompassed:

  • Firstly, designing four Army Officer situational judgement tests; one for each Army Officer entry route
  • Secondly, Army soldier situational judgement test designs.
  • Thirdly, two realistic job previews; to preview Army Officer career options; and the multitude of Army soldier career options.

New Army Aptitude Test Designs

In terms of the new Army aptitude tests, we developed:

  • Soldier Numerical reasoning test designs for the selection of trainee soldiers.
  • Army Officer numerical reasoning test designs for selecting trainee Officers.
  • Soldier Verbal reasoning test designs for the selection of trainee soldiers.
  • Officer verbal reasoning test designs for selecting trainee Officers.
  • Army Officer decision-making and figure formation psychometric test designs.

Plus, we were part of the psychometrician team managing the Army Officer personality questionnaire design and the psychometric test designs for Army soldier career guidance tests.

Army tests were created by Rob Williams Assessment Ltd. Plus, we designed, several Officer-based situational judgement tests. And a ‘Soldier’ situational judgment test. Plus, Verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning tests for use at ADSC.

Also, we designed a bespoke personality questionnaire for Army Officer ADSC selection centre at Sandhurst.

Army Officer Psychometric Test Designs

We worked with the Officer Selection group at AOSB to design three ability tests. Plus, personality questionnaires.

new Army assessment designs

Here are the main points in the Army tests design brief.

Army Aptitude Test Design

Rob Williams Assessment has worked extensively with the British Army. We developed numerical reasoning test designs for trainee soldiers. Also, for trainee Officers in the Army. This large project involved:

  • Designing over 20 SJTs.
  • 2 realistic job previews.
  • 2 ability tests (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning).
  • Personality questionnaires and
  • Career guidance tests.

The three primary abilities are key to Army training:

  • Firstly, Numerical ability.
  • Secondly, Verbal ability.
  • Thirdly, Spatial ability.
  • Firstly, focus group research, job analysis and a research literature review. Also, to include substantial input from Army SMEs at key points.
  • Secondly, to be administered and completed online.
  • Thirdly, to be face valid and engaging for candidates (with scenarios based upon realistic Officer training incidents).
  • Fourthly to provide a Recruiter report
  • Also, to provide a Candidate Report for potential candidates.
  • Finally, to improve potential candidates’ understanding of the demands and ‘key tipping points’ which they would encounter during Sandhurst training.
Big five career guidance soldiers in full gear.

New Army Officer situational judgement test brief

  • Firstly, the target completion time of 20-25 minutes.
  • Secondly, to have approximately 20 items.  
  • Thirdly, to be administered online. Also, to guide candidates, through the provision of feedback, about their likely suitability for Army training / early career stages. Thus prompting consideration of their fit and hence assisting self-selection.
  • Fourthly, to adopt a research-based approach with SMEs to elicit if five distinct instruments were necessary by asking the SMEs to rate how appropriate each scenario was for each Officer entry route.
  • Also, create a core set of common Mainstream Officer scenarios, with specific questions for particular Officer entry routes.

Army Officer verbal reasoning test design

The Army Officer verbal reasoning tests format:

  • Similar formats to those off-the-shelf tests with good psychometric properties.
  • Same format as the MAPP tests at AOSB meaning there is item invariance between the verbal Officer Cognitive Screener tests and MAPP.

This new verbal reasoning test format needed to:

  • Be accessible to a wide range of ability levels and age ranges
  • Simulate ‘officer/management level’ decision-making.
  • Have response options (true, false, cannot tell) assess the ability to comprehend the written information and then determine whether further statements logically follow from this information or not (true or false options) or whether there is insufficient information in the passage to determine whether a statement follows or not (cannot tell).

Army Officer Numerical reasoning test rationale

The new Army Officer numerical reasoning test design that Rob Williams Assessment contributed to had these key psychometric design features:

  • Firstly, is the same as the MAPP tests at AOSB. So, there is item invariance between the numerical Officer Cognitive Screener tests and MAPP.
  • Secondly, is accessible to a wide range of ability levels and age ranges.
  • Thirdly, simulates ‘officer/management level’ numerical requirements.
  • Questions require the application of basic mathematical concepts to answer them and ‘problem-solving’ rather than computational ability, so ensuring validity with the kinds of numerical tasks officers need to perform.

Army Officer Aptitude Tests Intro

  • These assess your numerical, verbal and diagrammatic or spatial reasoning skills.
  • Since these Army Oficer Aptitude tests are presented to you as part of an assessment centre, it is unlikely to be on a pass/fail basis.
  • Each test is presented under exam conditions with a strict time limit.

In 2013/14 , Rob Williams Assessment designed the following Army tests to:

  • Firstly, identify likely suitability for undergoing and successfully completing Army training; and
  • Secondly, to broaden their understanding of the different demands of Army training (and future Army life).

Soldier Practice Test Design

First of all, a situational judgement test. Second,  a realistic job preview for Army soldiers, by keeping the most effective questions based on the trial results analysis. So, to summarise, two tests were created. An Army soldier numeracy skills. Plus, a Soldier literacy skills test.

Army Officer assessment process

It is like an assessment centre. Not really a place; rather it is a lengthy process for selecting
people for jobs.

• Army Officer assessment on a number of dimensions – for example, leadership ability,
team working, decision making.
• A range of Army Officer assessment techniques – for example, interviews, psychometric
tests, individual and group exercises.
• A number of high ranking Army Officer assessors to make the selection process is as fair as possible. The decision to hire is made by consensus.
• Several Army Officer candidates being observed together. This makes the selection
process more meaningful. Since you can be assessed both individually and as part of
a team.

Army Situational assessment Design

To provide potential candidates with realistic (face valid) situations they are likely to encounter, and feedback on their responses. Such highly informative feedback aims to improve candidates’ understanding of the demands of Army life.

Thus, better able to make informed judgements about their own suitability. As such, the SJTs are an important early selection filter, both for a candidate’s self-selection and as part of the advice given by Recruiting Officers.

Army Practice Test. Soldier with gun over his shoulder in field

Army situational judgement item writing design

From the start of the item-writing project phase, We emphasised the following points to its item writing teams:

  • A training focus and the assessment of behaviours related to early stages of a person’s Army career; i.e. so-called ‘stick and fit’, or how likely a potential candidate is to successfully complete their training and how well they are likely to adapt to the very early stages of their Army career.
  • In comparison with the optional ALP, the SJT is less transparent, reflecting its higher stakes design application, although the test results may be considered in conjunction when recruiting decisions are made.

Through feedback to both potential applicants and Recruiting Officers, SJTs will provide valuable information that will help Capita manage the risk associated primarily with training, but also with the very early stages of a person’s Army career. the purposes of the SJTs for Westbury’s recruiters are to improve Sandhurst’s training outcomes and the Army’s overall training selection efficiency.

Army assessment designs

Army Situational Judgement Test Design

Given the SJT’s military context, the test design’s aims were to:

After consideration of the target audience, it was decided   that, Officer candidates would use a response format utilising ‘best’ and ‘worst’ response options. From the four options presented, candidates would be asked to indicate which option is the ‘best’ and which option is the ‘worst’ in relation to the scenario.

A significant advantage of this approach is that it offers a greater potential range of scores to be obtained from the same number of items than if only the ‘right’ or ‘best’ answer were used (Hauenstein et al, 2010). An increased range of scores will aid the statistical analysis of items during the development stage of the SJTs and the eventual reliability of the assessment, as this is linked to the spread of scores obtained from a test.

The use of an ‘effectiveness scale’ was also debated, as this has been shown to    positively affect validity (Scott and Creighton, 2006). With this approach, each response option is individually rated in terms of its potential effectiveness for      successfully addressing the situation.

Army assessment designs

Army Situational Judgement Test Validity

SJTs have higher validity if respondents are asked what they ‘would do’ as opposed to what they ‘should do’ (Ployhart and Ehrhart, 2003). ‘Would do’ prompts were therefore used because they are more likely      to elicit responses that reflect respondents’ behavioural preferences, rather than their rating of what they consider would be the most appropriate thing to do (regardless of whether they would do this, or act otherwise).

Varying schools of thought exist with regard to response format. Whilst some authors argue that having ‘right’ as well as ‘wrong’ responses can make SJTs too obvious (Hauenstein et al, 2010), only scoring right options truncates the information available for scoring. Thus, we took the a priori decision to score both right and wrong options.

Army Situational Judgement Design

Our situational judgement design requirements were as follows:

Before you begin, remember:

  • The answer options for each situation are all different, so read them through carefully.
  • For each question, to indicate which action you consider would be best and worst.
  • To be honest about what you think you would do in each situation.
  • That you don’t need any Army experience to answer the questions, and:
  • The SJT is not timed, but most people take about 30 minutes to complete it.

Army assessment designs

Navy army practice. Marine in water with a gun.

Army Officer Competencies

Officer Discipline
  • The need to recognise and respond to the requirements and expectations of military discipline.
  • Plus also having the Army Officer discipline to follow orders.
Army Officers’ military awareness
  • To understand how military expectations differ from civilian ones.
  • Also, to emphasise the appropriateness of certain types of behaviours over others at a general level.
Commitment Army Officer competency
  • To the Army life.
  • And commitment to your fellow Officers and Soldiers.
  • To fulfil all the requirements and demands that Army duties place on individuals.
Sociability Army Officer competency
  • The importance and strength gained through connection with others.
  • In particular during Army training.
  • Plus the early adaptation period to Army life. 
Resilience Army Officer competency
  • The importance of being able to deal with challenges and adversity.
  • As well as, being able as an Army Officer to recover resiliently from setbacks.
  • Plus, to remain focused.
Army psychometric test designs. Abstract image of soldier in blast

Our free literacy practice tests / free numeracy practice tests

Here is our Practice Literacy Test and practice Numeracy Test.

Our Army Career Resources

Firstly, our Armed Services graduate entry feature on What is Army Officer graduate entry?

Secpndly, our Armed Services careers feature on popular post-Army Officer career options.

* * Content updated October 2021 * *

Our Psychometric Test Designs