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Old 02-05-2019, 11:06 AM
 
18,888 posts, read 10,445,291 times
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Quote:
The Air Force announced Monday that airmen will no longer have to take Weighted Airman Promotion System tests to be promoted to master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant.

The tests will be dropped for active duty senior non-commissioned officer promotions beginning with the chief master sergeant cycle this fall, the Air Force said in a release.

SNCO promotions now follow a two-phase process, with the two WAPS tests — specialty knowledge tests and promotion fitness exams — comprising the first phase for master sergeants, and only the PFEs for E-8s and E-9s. The second phase consists of a central evaluation board.

Each 100-question test can earn an airman as many as 100 points towards promotion. Specialty knowledge tests measure how well an airman knows information specific to his or her career field. Promotion fitness exams measure general knowledge in such key areas as leadership, Air Force history and organization, regulations, customs and courtesies.

Dropping the first phase means the Air Force will now use a promotion board process, similar to the board process used by officers, to decide which airmen should be promoted to the SNCO ranks.
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...ing-for-sncos/

I haven't heard from anyone yet who thinks this is a good idea. And officers don't even like their own system.

The claim is that promotion testing allows people who are unqualified to become senior NCOs merely because they test well.

Not true. First, people who don't test well don't make master sergeant (E-7). It's been long known that in the Air Force, technical sergeant (E-6) is the shred-out point for mediocre testers.

Moreover, the promotion board score is already the overwhelming major factor in promotion. The test only provided a small ability for a person to affect his own score. Small, but significant to the individual.

Moreover to that, it opens a big question as to why should there be promotion tests at all. My troops would ask that question: "I should be promoted base on my job performance!"

But as I counselled them then: "Your job performance is nothing more than what your supervisor says it is, and no better than his ability to write well. Your test score is in your own hands."

In my AFSC, there were only about 45 people each year eligible for E-9. By that time, we actually even knew each other--over the years, we'd all worked in the same unit at some time or another. We also knew which of us had had the sexy jobs that looked good to promotion boards.

What actually makes more of an unfair difference is decoration points. I've long believed that a decoration's points should be applied only in the testing cycle the decoration was received. We had one guy in my AFSC who'd had the unique opportunity to get into the only unit that had aircrew in my AFSC as his first duty assignment. The unit was deactivated shortly afterward, but he'd already racked up more Air Medal points--that would count every promotion cycle of his career--than anyone could overcome by testing.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Herndon, VA
1,951 posts, read 1,919,397 times
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I agree with the move. How well you test shouldn't play a role in promotions for senior NCOs. Accomplishments, education and supervisor review should be paramount for those positions. I do agree that decorations are a bit much.

I'm a career civil servant in a senior position and have never had to take a "test" for a promotion in my IT field, because I've accomplished things in my career that are documented and speak to how well I can do the job. Why should a senior NCO be any different? They've reached a point in their career that they're beyond some standardized test in their AFSC.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:16 PM
 
18,888 posts, read 10,445,291 times
Reputation: 18788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert20170 View Post
I agree with the move. How well you test shouldn't play a role in promotions for senior NCOs. Accomplishments, education and supervisor review should be paramount for those positions. I do agree that decorations are a bit much.

I'm a career civil servant in a senior position and have never had to take a "test" for a promotion in my IT field, because I've accomplished things in my career that are documented and speak to how well I can do the job. Why should a senior NCO be any different? They've reached a point in their career that they're beyond some standardized test in their AFSC.
A. A senior NCO can't steer his career that effectively. I test very well, and that got me to E-7 years earlier than most in my AFSC. However, I languished at E-7 for another full decade before my next promotion. I

A colonel who had been on many senior NCO promotion boards discussed my career with me and said, "You're not 'blue' enough." Basically, my career was not conventional enough. I was hampered from a promotion board perspective by my last ten years being in joint service environments, despite having rocking accomplishments, education (including Defense Intelligence College, which almost none of my peers had), supervisory experience over sailors, airmen, soldiers, and Marines...but I wasn't "blue enough."

Everything should play some role in promotion for senior NCOs.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:52 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
3,289 posts, read 9,518,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...ing-for-sncos/

I haven't heard from anyone yet who thinks this is a good idea. And officers don't even like their own system.

The claim is that promotion testing allows people who are unqualified to become senior NCOs merely because they test well.

Not true. First, people who don't test well don't make master sergeant (E-7). It's been long known that in the Air Force, technical sergeant (E-6) is the shred-out point for mediocre testers.

Moreover, the promotion board score is already the overwhelming major factor in promotion. The test only provided a small ability for a person to affect his own score. Small, but significant to the individual.

Moreover to that, it opens a big question as to why should there be promotion tests at all. My troops would ask that question: "I should be promoted base on my job performance!"

But as I counselled them then: "Your job performance is nothing more than what your supervisor says it is, and no better than his ability to write well. Your test score is in your own hands."

In my AFSC, there were only about 45 people each year eligible for E-9. By that time, we actually even knew each other--over the years, we'd all worked in the same unit at some time or another. We also knew which of us had had the sexy jobs that looked good to promotion boards.

What actually makes more of an unfair difference is decoration points. I've long believed that a decoration's points should be applied only in the testing cycle the decoration was received. We had one guy in my AFSC who'd had the unique opportunity to get into the only unit that had aircrew in my AFSC as his first duty assignment. The unit was deactivated shortly afterward, but he'd already racked up more Air Medal points--that would count every promotion cycle of his career--than anyone could overcome by testing.
I think this is a great idea. If you look at the stats on MYPERS, testing makes up a VERY small portion of your score currently. You can't overcome a -30 point deficiet on the board with the test, because average test scores for those ranks are very high. We spend hours, weeks, months of our lives studying for something that doesn't impact promotion. We stress about it. This is freedom! We can not use that time to mentor, lead, love our families, etc.

You do still get decoration points in a sense. The board reads them, and increases your score for their content.

I'm very happy about this!
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:42 AM
 
18,888 posts, read 10,445,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmarie123 View Post
I think this is a great idea. If you look at the stats on MYPERS, testing makes up a VERY small portion of your score currently. You can't overcome a -30 point deficiet on the board with the test, because average test scores for those ranks are very high. We spend hours, weeks, months of our lives studying for something that doesn't impact promotion. We stress about it. This is freedom! We can not use that time to mentor, lead, love our families, etc.

You do still get decoration points in a sense. The board reads them, and increases your score for their content.

I'm very happy about this!
As I told my troops: Your job performance is nothing more than what your supervisor says it is.

Or how well he's able to write.

Or whether he loves you enough not to damn you with faint praise.

Be sure to buy knee pads.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:42 AM
 
3,277 posts, read 1,392,119 times
Reputation: 2458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert20170 View Post
I agree with the move. How well you test shouldn't play a role in promotions for senior NCOs. Accomplishments, education and supervisor review should be paramount for those positions. I do agree that decorations are a bit much.

I'm a career civil servant in a senior position and have never had to take a "test" for a promotion in my IT field, because I've accomplished things in my career that are documented and speak to how well I can do the job. Why should a senior NCO be any different? They've reached a point in their career that they're beyond some standardized test in their AFSC.
The first time a plane goes down, this program will end. Just like the OP said, testing is primarily a product of work ethic and experience. By the time you make it that far in your career, you should know the technical aspects of your job.

If you can't pass a test about your own job, why should anyone rely on your expertise?
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:27 PM
 
356 posts, read 691,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...ing-for-sncos/

The claim is that promotion testing allows people who are unqualified to become senior NCOs merely because they test well.

Not true. First, people who don't test well don't make master sergeant (E-7). It's been long known that in the Air Force, technical sergeant (E-6) is the shred-out point for mediocre testers.

Wait, aren't you in fact saying that it is true that people who test well become senior NCOs, and those who don't test well do not? After all, you said those "who don't test well don't make master sergeant (E-7)".
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:35 PM
 
356 posts, read 691,306 times
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What you know should play a big part in getting promoted to MSgt and beyond. When I was in I saw too many people who did the extracurricular stuff get placed up on a pedestal as model airmen. In many cases these people spent a lot of time doing things other than their jobs. Many of them weren't very knowledgeable when it came to their jobs, but always had sharply pressed uniforms, shiny boots, were involved in organizing fund raisers, booster club meetings, etc.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:23 PM
 
18,888 posts, read 10,445,291 times
Reputation: 18788
Quote:
Originally Posted by TowBar View Post
Wait, aren't you in fact saying that it is true that people who test well become senior NCOs, and those who don't test well do not? After all, you said those "who don't test well don't make master sergeant (E-7)".
What is alleged is that those who have been making specifically E8 and E9 under WAPS have made it only because they test well.

That's not true because they're all testing pretty well to have made E7.

Those who don't get the most plum of assignments or who don't shmooze as well (and there is a link between shmoozing and plum assignments) have only the WAPS test to make up the difference. But those who also shmooze well can't snooze on the test.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:51 AM
 
480 posts, read 344,296 times
Reputation: 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobster View Post
The first time a plane goes down, this program will end. Just like the OP said, testing is primarily a product of work ethic and experience. By the time you make it that far in your career, you should know the technical aspects of your job.

If you can't pass a test about your own job, why should anyone rely on your expertise?
It's been a very long time (20 years) since I left active duty, but I didn't test well, particularly on the SKT. In my career field it was 'generic' by necessity, and never once in the nine years I took it did it have anything whatever to do with the equipment I was actually working on, or had ever worked on. To me it was like studying French to get promoted while I was actually reading/speaking Chinese on the job (language reference only for example, not a linguist career field).
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