Establishing the content validity of cadet leader assessment at the U.S. Military Academy

John Duane Roehr, Fordham University


Prior research indicates that success as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) and later as an officer in the U.S. Army results from a complex mix of intellectual abilities, physical aptitudes, leadership competencies, achievement motivations, and a succession of life experiences that modify and influence all other factors. Historically, the USMA has experienced numerous difficulties when it attempted to use information on cadets to predict leadership performance following graduation. The leadership development and assessment system currently in use at the USMA is designated the Sequential Leader Development System (SLDS). This study was designed to provide the Superintendent, USMA, with scientifically valid information on the content validity of the 12 behavioral dimensions utilized for performance at the USMA. Two other, possibly more significant, purposes for this research were identified shortly thereafter: the first was to use study results to direct added developmental training emphasis to those dimensions having low or no content validity, while the other was to provide a means of examining the issue of gender differentiation and relation to female-male opinions about the leadership dimensions. The subjects were 408 men and 53 women assigned to the USMA, West Point, New York. Subjects were divided into groups based upon their military status (active duty versus cadet) and gender. Analysis of the data indicated that USMA cadets did not believe "Delegating" to be essential to successful leadership. Of further significance was the finding that male cadets and the Academy's overall male population rated the essentiality of the dimension of "Consideration for Others" quite low, a finding which, when reviewed in connection with studies conducted in 1977 and 1988, shows a continuing leadership training deficit. In reference to the issue of gender differentiation, significant statistical differences were found to exist between females and males for both the essentiality and observability of the dimensions. Recommendations were made for future research to determine how the USMA may improve both the developmental and assessment aspects of its leader development programs.

Subject Area

School administration|Curricula|Teaching|Personality

Recommended Citation

Roehr, John Duane, "Establishing the content validity of cadet leader assessment at the U.S. Military Academy" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109269.