The share of Army recruits with a high school diploma - which has shown to be a key indicator of future success in the military - dropped more than 12 percent between 2005 and 2007, reaching a 25-year low, according to an analysis of government data published yesterday.
The percentage of Army enlistees who joined the service with a high school diploma went from almost 84 percent in 2005 to less than 71 percent last year, according to the analysis by the nonprofit National Priorities Project.
The data also revealed a steep decline in what the Army considers "high-quality" recruits, an assessment based on a combination of their education levels and scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test; in fiscal year 2005, for example, 56 percent of enlistees were designated by the Army as high quality, while last year 45 percent were, the analysis found.
The findings were based on raw data that the Army Recruiting Command compiles on each new recruit, including hometown, income level, race, education, and test scores. The National Priorities Project obtained the information through the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed it, according to Anita Dancs, the organization's research director.