CR gradings..An exercise in futility? Cat, meet pigeons!

Discussion in 'Reports & Promotion' started by bigbadjimmyp, Jan 19, 2005.

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  1. After the Lcpl to Cpl, and Cpl to Sgt grading board, at a certain unit, a certain individual decreed that his "policy" was that no one in the unit would grade above a "B" unless they were really exceptionall.
    It is the view of many individuals in that unit, that this "policy" could, in fact constitute a blanket "career foul", especially in the cases of senior Cpl's, who wcould be seen by MCM div as having slacked off since their last confidential report.
    It is well known, that the boards take little notice of the actual grading, and concentrate on the write-up, HOWEVER this is not seen as the issue for those people concerned. This is because a grade is a grade, regardless of the write-up, and they would not use grades if they were not important enough to exist.
    In the case of a senior Cpl who has had 3 consecutive "A" grades, is suddenly a "B" grade; he or she, by definition, has not performed as well as he or she did last year.
    It is agreed that overgrading is a potential problem....but is undergrading the answer?
    Is it worth putting a soldiers career back by a year or so, just so 1 man at one unit can further his personal CR grading policy crusade?
    Looking forward to SNCO gradings, that should be a real giggle, a real positive move for unit cohesion.....
    Oh, and this so called "policy" cannot be found anywhere in black and white. Strange old thing.
    The same man constantly wonders why the mood of the entire unit, and general morale is lower than a rattlesnakes bolllocks.
  2. Not a new problem. I had one boss who openly held that anyone working for him was top quality or he would have moved them on. Everyone he cr'd got ticks down the A column. This was known at the board and his efforts were downgraded o that the write up was given more attention. However, he had also over egged the pudding here as well. Another guy was against anything accelerated and wrote accordingly. Don't know what the board did about him. My argument back then was that there shouild be space on the form for reportee to comment on the writer. Led to many coffeeless interviews.
  3. MCM Div ain't stupid!(contrary to many rumours :D ). They know how each indiviual writes/grades. Bear in mind that nobody can sit on a board until they have been trained to do so by MCM Div.

    Most people who sit on a board will have substantial experience in writing CR's. They will (whether consiously or not) compare the writing style on the 2047/2048 against their own, and form their own opinion based on their assessment of the write up.

    Also, there are 5 members of the board. Each member has to grade each candidate with a score between 1 and 10. If any 2 board members grade a candidate differently by more than 2 points, that candidate has to be re-assessed by the board.

    If one CO was undergrading, then all his candidates would stand out in comparison to the others, bringing attention to them because of this fact.

    Whilst honest grading can be difficult, it is very difficult to say that 80% of (for example) Cpls in a unit are an A. By definition, the "Average" soldier should be graded "C"!!!! :cry:

    You would expect (in an honest fashion) to see perhaps 35% as a "B - Above average", maybe 10% as an "A - Well above average", and maybe only one or two as an "O" :wink:

    Please, somebody explain the mathematics of having 85% of Cpls in one unit "Well Above Average"? :? Would this not suggest that the "Average" is wrong?

    "With a magazine of 30 rounds, LOAD"

    Contention: In some circumstances, people would rather overgrade 90% of soldiers to give them a warm, fuzzy feeling than honestly grade somebody as "D - Below Average".

    I await the (undoubtedly) inevitable derisory comments :lol:

  4. I can confirm to you now that this pracitice does hamper careers, I have seen it happen with an OC who dropped everyones grades as "He didn't know them" and didn't bother his arrse to read previous reports and didn't speak to TC's or TSM's either

    His actions caused an up roar with the men and many refused to sign thier CR's, his response ? He ducked out and ordered the TC's to get the men to sign them

    In the end not only was promotion severly hampered but a slew of brown letters found there way to the unit

    In my 12 years in it was probably the most disgraceful show I have ever seen, didn't hamper his career mind as he picked his half colonel up a few years later
  5. Ghost, you hit the nail on the head.

    The grading system is the problem not the write up. This falls back to the schooling system.

    A = Top dog
    B= Hey your cool
    C= head above water
    D= Report to the Headmaster.

    It doesnt quite work like that in the Army but writes ups can easily confuse soldiers without a good feel for english language and grammer (hey even I have had to run to a dictionary after seeing some words on my CR) The only real way for them to gauge how well they have performed is by seeing a grade.

    Now overgrading is a prevelant problem. It has been in our Corps and no doubt others too. It is a unit specific thing and I have been on the wrong side if it where my OC has shoved the Army CR manual in my face to justify the grade but then to have MCM 3 years later saying that very CR held me back 2 years (all to prove a point!!)

    I have been told that MCM boards "adjust" CR`s specific to the writer but its is NEVER a level playing field as some soldiers serve in independant Troops compared to Regiments of hundreds of soldiers.

    Personally I compare the write up to the grade and make sure they match, If an OC/CO says "oh the grade isnt important he is either very confident or hiding the fact he has made you look an ass in clever speak. Pushing this issue usually gives the required info.

    Line manangers, OC`s etc have to be honest with themselves as well as those they report upon rather than trying to make everyone feel they are the top guy in the Regiment!!
  6. Exactly the point, Disco. MCM Div don't give a sh1t if your CR turns up 1/2 an hour before the board sits, scribbled on the back of a packet of L&B in crayon. If you're eligible (i.e. qualified and recommended), your CR goes to the board.


    Is your unit really doing you a favour if they cannot be arrsed to comply with the MS Guide? That fag packet may go before the board, but when the panel see you described as well above average, recommended for promotion, do you honestly think that will hold much sway, when it looks like the whole unit's admin is up its arrse by not submitting in plenty of time?

    This is just one way in which the board may be (perhaps unwittingly) ushered into massaging the printed grade, and taking the write-up with a rather large portion of Saxa White Crystals!

    Just my opinion, of course :lol:
  7. I don't think that overgrading is necessarily a problem - as long as we all do it across the Corps; this leads to the classic normal distribution of grades regardless. The write ups are the critical element - the only person who cares about the grade is the individual reportee.

    CRs in general are a pain in the arse, and I'm still don't think that they are a good way of going about business - but I can't think of any other alternative!
  8. BBJP you put your finger exactly on the answer in this quote. Let me give you two (notional) example paragraphs from a CO's write-up on a RD Warrant Officer class 2:

    OK - allowing for the unreality of such short extracts, and the fact that a Board would certainly look at the last 3 reports, which of numbers 1 and 2 would get your vote, as a member? For my money, number 1 is an 8 or 8.5 (out of 10), while number 2 is a 5.5 or 6. The O grade of number 2 is irrelevant to the Board because the write-up neither justifies nor expands on it. Most notably, number 1's CO assesses him against the competition, effectively staking his own reputation on the quality of the guy he's writing on, while number 2's CO does not - is that because he doesn't want to tell him difficult news? In this case I'd put money on number 1 storming past number 2 on the Board even if number 1 had been graded B rather than A. It's quite possible the Board wouldn't even notice the grade, given such a write-up.
  9. Granted.
    Now reply to the rest of the paragraph please.
  10. Sorry - I thought it was clear. Grades are of no significance except in the mind of the person being reported on. If they cause so much grief, then why have them at all? Change them to a simple Sat/Unsat when we ditch the 2047/2048 and start using the SJAR.
  11. Donny,

    You are correct but despite attempts from the Corps to remove gradings and stick with report writing with the move to SJAR the Infrantry especially has insisted on keeping gradings becuase as I said earlier for most of their soldiers they cannot grade their own performance from service writing. You have to remember the level of their language and grammer skills.

  12. ... and spelling skills too. Apparently.
  13. KELSEY
  14. The migration to SJAR may have a significant effect on Other Arms and Services, but I suspect the Infantry will still suffer the same problems, especially as the more senior ranks have fewer posts available to them. Not necessarily a case of "Dead Man's Shoes", but not a million miles from there.

    Infantry seem to have more soldiers competing for fewer slots across the rank range, and therefore there is more competition at every level. This means that their CO's have to write stronger reports at every level, leading to a more honest grading system.

    Having recently had an Infantry CO write my part 2, with an A grade, this was (apparently) held in higher regard than the O grade written by a Signals CO previously (and it was the lower graded report that got me promoted!).

    In the end, I am still of the opinion that, whilst the grade is mostly for the subject to assess his standing, the ability of OC/CO to formulate an effective write-up will have the greatest affect on the outcome of promotion boards.

  15. GR,

    You must be aware that selection for promotion is based on your performance on the board (ie the number of points that the board awards you after reading you CR book) tempered with your experience (ie the number of years served).

    It wasn't the single report that got you promoted but your whole book, or at least the last few CRs. The strong report from the Signals CO would have gone a very long way towards setting you up for promotion and I would bet that the Inf CO's report alone would not have done the trick.

    I can assure you that the quality of reports has little to do with the capbadge of the officer and everything to do with that officer's own ability. On a recent board I saw hundreds of reports of vastly different quality. These included reports from Infantry officers that were very well written to those you wouldn't line your hamster's cage with.

    A Royal Signals promotion board (I assume that you are Signals) is made up entirely of Royal Signals personnel. I would suggest that Royal Signals report writers know what flicks their switches better that report writers from other capbadges.

    And yes, you are totally correct. The grade is all for the subject. A board will only really see O, A and B grades. If grade was important, they would promote all the Os, half the As and none of the Bs.