The DLAB test has been quite a mystery over the past couple of years. Many people, through the course of its existence, have searched the Internet, posted on forums and begged their friends for any information about the test. And with so much riding on it, who can blame them?
However, because of this so-called “Wild West” lawlessness, the Internet is riddled with wrong answers and nothing to set them straight. But what is even worse is that the DLAB exam went through some changes a couple of years ago, thus causing multiple answers that cause confusion and discontent.
So, to help you understand what the current information is and what isn’t, we decided we would create a whole post about DLAB changes. By doing this, hopefully we can impart upon the Internet world the right answers and keep our information up-to-date.
But before we get into the test specifics, lets first figure out why there was a test and whether or not this has any meaning for potential test takers.
Why the Change in the DLAB Scoring System
What we do know is that the success rate of students going through DLI has been dismal. On average, a category 4 language only receives a 34% pass rate. That means that only 3 out of 10 students will pass DLI and move on to their Language based career.
Furthermore, with sequestration, the allowance for students to re-enroll once they have fallen behind (also known as “rolling back”) has been stopped and only in certain cases can you get this option. This means that students no longer get a second chance and the fail-rate is only going to increase.
So to combat this, the military turned to statistics.
Statistics and What they Mean
As many of you know, when you take the DLAB, they will ask you for your basic background information. This will include your educational background, and other aspects about you as a student. The military does this because they are collecting the information to figure out if there are certain metrics that will help them to better decipher who has a better potential of learning a language.
After a couple of years of collecting DLAB scores, educational backgrounds and success-rate statistics from the Defense Language Institute, the military decided that they had enough information to warrant changing the requirements and testing standard. From this data, they had a better idea of who is better suited for DLI. We at the DLAB prep don’t have their exact numbers but it wouldn’t be far from logical to believe that they found that the higher a DLAB score, the higher the chances of passing of DLI.
And to prove this point, there is actually a Masters thesis from the Naval Post-Graduate School that says exactly this. So obviously, if the success rate at DLI wasn’t enough, then raise your testing requirements and thus lower your acceptance rate. If you want to read the 80 page report, you can download it here, or you can just take our word for it. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ada429897
So it is clear that they raised the bar and have made the DLAB harder, but exactly how did they do that?
Grammar Rule Change
According to our sources, two years ago the DLAB changed their grammar rules. Although we don’t have the specific rules, our readers have told us that the Official DLAB Training Manual is the only DLAB study guide that reflects the new rules and not the old rules. The other DLAB study guides only discuss the old rules.
The Scoring Range and Maximum Score
Because of the statistics, the DLAB decided to reduce the maximum possible score from 176 to 164. Why do this? Because they wanted to make each question worth more points.
This means that you need to do better in all categories and not just rely on a couple of your strong points. You no longer have the ability to do poorly in one section, but instead have to do well or excellent in all sections. This is where a good study guide and practice test will come through for you.
The Category Language Requirements
The minimum score to get accepted into DLI used to be 85, however, it is now 95. Again, this only shows that a higher DLAB score statistically means a better chance of passing DLI.
Furthermore, the individual category requirements all increased by 10 points, now making them the following:
- 95 for a Category I language (Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish)
- 100 for a Category II language (German)
- 105 for a Category III language (Belorussian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovak, Tagalog [Filipino], Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese)
- 110 for a Category IV language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)
So, as you can see, the meet the cuts in military spending the help to improve their success rate at DLI, the military changed the test in order to make it harder and also to make the process even more selective.
No longer do you have the ability to get “rolled back,” once at DLI. The stakes are higher and you’re your career is on the line. So, take this information and prepare well, but most importantly, don’t go in ignorance and help spread the knowledge.