The Utility of the Air Traffic Selection and Training Test Battery in Hiring Graduates of an Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative Program


The FAA recruits applicants for Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) training positions from multiple hiring sources. Each hiring source has requirements that applicants must meet for eligibility. These hiring sources include the Air Traffic – Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) for applicants with specialized education in air traffic control (ATC) and general public (GP) applicants with no prior ATC education or experience. CTI and GP applicants must pass the Air Traffic Selection and Training (AT-SAT) test battery, a computerized preemployment test battery designed to assess a candidate’s aptitude for performing the duties of an ATCS. Applicants must score as Qualified with a score of 70 – 84.9 or Well-Qualified with a score of 85 or above for further consideration.

The current research provides an initial assessment of AT-SAT as part of the hiring process for CTI graduates. To consider the utility of AT-SAT in hiring CTI graduates, we compared the selection and training performance of CTI graduates and GP applicants taking AT-SAT between April 2007 and December 2009. In our sample, only 6.2% of CTI graduates and GP applicants failed to pass AT-SAT with a score of 70 or higher (2.3% CTI graduates, 6.9% GP applicants). There was variation in the scores of those who passed AT-SAT, but most were categorized as Well-Qualified (58.8%). Also, while most CTI graduates and GP applicants selected for training had scored as Well-Qualified on AT-SAT, more Qualified CTI graduates (24.2%) than GP applicants (5.8%) were selected. There was little difference between CTI and GP trainees in assignment to terminal or en route facilities (less than 2 percentage points). The majority of the trainees (63.4%) had completed training (successfully or unsuccessfully). CTI trainees were successful slightly more often (55.3%) than GP trainees (51.9%) and unsuccessful slightly less often (16.2% vs. 22.6%, respectively). Also, while Well-Qualified CTI trainees were successful at approximately the same level as Qualified CTI trainees (55.7% vs. 54.2%, respectively), they were unsuccessful less often (14.0% vs. 23.5%, respectively).

Our recommendations are to continue to use AT-SAT in the hiring process of CTI graduates and to select primarily those who score in the Well-Qualified score category.

The Utility of the Air Traffic Selection

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