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The Navy's Biographical Inventory: What Accounts for Its Success?

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Biographical Inventories, Factor Analysis, Naval Personnel, Personnel Selection


The purpose of this study was to assess the dimensions underlying the Navy's Biographical Inventory and the reasons for the inventory's success in predicting the retention vs. attrition of aviators in naval aviation training. The sample consisted of all Student Naval Aviators (N=1,819) who applied for training in 1986-1988 and had complete data on the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Selection Test battery and retention vs. attrition criteria. Five factors from the inventory were identified: 1) commissioned officer; 2) science and engineering interests; 3) flight experience; 4) masculine activities; and 5) school athletics. Only the Commissioned Officer factor correlated appreciably with the retention vs. attrition criteria. It is suggested that, insofar as the inventory and the tests are measuring the same things, a greater focus in the inventory on those variable that cannot be measured by the tests might enhance the validity of the inventory and the battery as a whole.

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