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Fuzzy Math: Do Current Relative Values Tell An Accurate Story?

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With the adoption of a new Performance Evaluation System in the late 1990s more commonly referred to as a fitrep, the Marine Corps fielded a document with the ability to put each individual fitreps average into perspective using a corresponding numerical relative value. As a result, The relative value of a report allows individuals making personnel management decisions promotion, augmentation, resident schooling, command, and duty assignments to weigh the merit of that report in relation to the RSs rating history or profile for all other Marines of the same grade reported on by the RS. As spelled out in MarAdmin 46601, a reporting seniors RSs cumulative average number was added to the Master Brief Sheet MBS to amplify the RSs profile. However, while originally designed to add numerical objectivity to the subjective task of writing fitreps, relative values can be skewed and can paint a misleading picture of the Marine reported on MRO. Failure to depict the MROs true performance allows the law of unintended consequences to potentially have a negative impact on Marines careers. Because relative values are a heavily relied upon tool for selection boards, the Marine Corps must take immediate steps to correct the manner in which the RS averages and associated relative values are computed. Certainly the current use of the mean is not a problem of epidemic proportions on the macro level, but the issue of transitioning to the median to determine the cumulative RS average must be considered. Failure to do so will erode the confidence that Marines and selection boards have in the validity of the raw data listed on the MBS. Leaders in the Marine Corps get paid to exercise judgment. It is far better leadership that sees an issue and prevents future problems than is forced to react to its ramifications.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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