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Thread: Air Force does away with promotion test for senior NCOs

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Air Force does away with promotion test for senior NCOs

    Airmen eligible for promotion to master sergeant, senior master sergeant or chief master sergeant will no longer be required to pass tests to earn those ranks. Promotion to the highest three Air Force enlisted ranks will now only include a promotion board score that looks at the last five years worth of evaluations and takes all awards and decorations under consideration, according to an Air Force statement released Monday. The changes are scheduled to take effect this September.
    “We found that removing the testing portion will eliminate any possibility that Airmen without the strongest leadership potential might test into promotion, while also ensuring that our strongest performers continue to earn the promotion they deserve,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said in a statement

    https://www.stripes.com/news/air-for...-ncos-1.567317
    Big change for the AF.

    I suppose it's a good one...we spend a lot of time studying those books. To me, the tests were a way of promoting those who wanted it more (by spending hours studying)....this new change should look more to the people whose records show them deserving of promotion. OTOH, a lot of the stuff we study like control roster, epr, personnel programs, etc. are really good to have SNCOs know about...without testing, I think a lot of this stuff might just not be learned.

    Like, hey, did know that you can request the commander to end a UIF early on your Airman for good behavior/performance? Stuff like that...it won't come up day-to-day, but if you remember it from studying, it could come in handy.

    I've always been the book smart guy that scored high on tests...may never have made it if this were the system.
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 02-05-2019 at 07:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Big change for the AF.

    I suppose it's a good one...we spend a lot of time studying those books. To me, the tests were a way of promoting those who wanted it more (by spending hours studying)....this new change should look more to the people whose records show them deserving of promotion. OTOH, a lot of the stuff we study like control roster, epr, personnel programs, etc. are really good to have SNCOs know about...without testing, I think a lot of this stuff might just not be learned.

    Like, hey, did know that you can request the commander to end a UIF early on your Airman for good behavior/performance? Stuff like that...it won't come up day-to-day, but if you remember it from studying, it could come in handy.

    I've always been the book smart guy that scored high on tests...may never have made it if this were the system.
    So now the butt kissers don't even have to be smart.

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    So now the butt kissers don't even have to be smart.
    I suppose that's another way of looking at it...

    I thought that people would be happy about not having to test, but seeing online comments, they mostly seem to be in line with yours...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    I suppose that's another way of looking at it...

    I thought that people would be happy about not having to test, but seeing online comments, they mostly seem to be in line with yours...
    I was really just being "extreme" for the sake of it. The complaint for years, from the "top performers", is "I don't test well but I'm a great worker" so this definitely takes care of that. However, it does seem a little backwards. I would think that you would want your "managers" to be much more "book smart" when it comes to PDG type stuff (though I guess one can just look it up if a question arises) and be more tech savvy for TSgt and below, and this kind of turns that on it's head.

    Bottom line is that there's no way to keep everyone happy. Let's be honest, when it goes to a board, even prior to taking away the test, the board score is what gets the person promoted. One can score 100 on the test and still not get promoted if they aren't looked upon fondly by the board members.

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    I was really just being "extreme" for the sake of it. The complaint for years, from the "top performers", is "I don't test well but I'm a great worker" so this definitely takes care of that. However, it does seem a little backwards. I would think that you would want your "managers" to be much more "book smart" when it comes to PDG type stuff (though I guess one can just look it up if a question arises) and be more tech savvy for TSgt and below, and this kind of turns that on it's head.
    yes, people only like a system that will promote them first. Anyway, I think this change has more to do with freeing up time for people rather than promoting different kinds of people....but, it will be interesting to see in a few years if some of that knowledge is lost to the SNCOs.

    Bottom line is that there's no way to keep everyone happy. Let's be honest, when it goes to a board, even prior to taking away the test, the board score is what gets the person promoted. One can score 100 on the test and still not get promoted if they aren't looked upon fondly by the board members.
    Yep.
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 02-05-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    So now the butt kissers don't even have to be smart.
    I've rated dozens of E-6s and above and knew the difference between a productive hard charger and a non-producing butt kisser. Whether in the mil or civ world, those favored by their bosses are usually the ones who are actually making a difference. Sure, many of these producers 'seem' to kiss up in some ways, but as far as I was concerned (as a manager), if you're kicking ass (thus making my job easier), then I am going to push you for promotion. The disadvantages come into play with poorly written vs outstanding (action, impact, result) EPRs going in front of a promotion board made up of people who don't know you or your competition. Unfortunately, this where many exceptional people may get passed over for promotion in favor of average performers.

    The good thing is, exceptional performers will eventually rise to the top of their professions, either while still in uniform or after they separate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS View Post
    I've rated dozens of E-6s and above and knew the difference between a productive hard charger and a non-producing butt kisser. Whether in the mil or civ world, those favored by their bosses are usually the ones who are actually making a difference. Sure, many of these producers 'seem' to kiss up in some ways, but as far as I was concerned (as a manager), if you're kicking ass (thus making my job easier), then I am going to push you for promotion. The disadvantages come into play with poorly written vs outstanding (action, impact, result) EPRs going in front of a promotion board made up of people who don't know you or your competition. Unfortunately, this where many exceptional people may get passed over for promotion in favor of average performers.

    The good thing is, exceptional performers will eventually rise to the top of their professions, either while still in uniform or after they separate.
    If this is the case, why have anyone test? Sounds like you would advocate for getting rid of PDG/SKT altogether if leaders/managers are able to distinguish the hard chargers from the butt kissers.

    Don't even get me started on "poorly written" vs "outstanding" EPRs. Why on earth the promotion of a subordinate would ever come down to the writing ability of the supervisor is, by far, the dumbest shit that any organization could ever rely on to determine who deserves promotion, especially since it's not up to the subordinate as to who writes the EPR (though usually it turns out to be the subordinate writing it anyway which, as we all know but continually justify, if completely against the instructions for rating. But if the subordinate brings that up, they are seen as the "whiner" and, thus, will not get pushed in front of his peer who keeps his mouth shut. Unfortunately, and undeniably, that is where the massive hypocrisy of the Air Force promotion system lies.

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    Standardized testing and objective judgments are raycis!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainmaker View Post
    Standardized testing and objective judgments are raycis!!
    I know you're being sarcastic, but you bring up a great point. When you make the entire process objective, it's going to put the spotlight on "diversity" of the SNCO Corps. It's going to end up being the same as the bitching about the number of black head coaches being hired in the NFL. I'll be looking forward to hearing the backlash.

    Doesn't this change just impact MSgt? I thought they got rid of testing for SMSgt and Chief along time ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    If this is the case, why have anyone test? Sounds like you would advocate for getting rid of PDG/SKT altogether if leaders/managers are able to distinguish the hard chargers from the butt kissers.

    Don't even get me started on "poorly written" vs "outstanding" EPRs. Why on earth the promotion of a subordinate would ever come down to the writing ability of the supervisor is, by far, the dumbest shit that any organization could ever rely on to determine who deserves promotion, especially since it's not up to the subordinate as to who writes the EPR (though usually it turns out to be the subordinate writing it anyway which, as we all know but continually justify, if completely against the instructions for rating. But if the subordinate brings that up, they are seen as the "whiner" and, thus, will not get pushed in front of his peer who keeps his mouth shut. Unfortunately, and undeniably, that is where the massive hypocrisy of the Air Force promotion system lies.
    Definitely not a perfect system, so I was just commenting on my personal experience when determining which one of my ratees was actually deserving vs a butt-kisser. I never gave my opinion on the test, and I have mixed feelings. Honestly, I think the only safe way to promote someone deserving is for the immediate leadership to have that ability to decide, based on feedback from the right Chiefs/officers who know the individual and who can gain an honest assessment. Unfortunately, promotions aren't decided on the local level (for various reasons). Words on a piece of paper for a board of strangers by itself isn't that fair either (bad vs good written EPR).
    Last edited by FLAPS; 02-06-2019 at 02:12 AM.

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