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Air Force Writer

How to Write EPR Bullets that Match the Rating


As if there weren't enough reasons for a reviewer to kick back an EPR, sometimes an EPR is returned because the bullet statements don't "match the rating". Depending on your unit, a varying amount of emphasis is put on making EPR bullets "match" the rating. By match the rating, they mean the language used in the bullet should correspond with the rating given. This is a somewhat arbitrary goal as the language used in EPRs is already exaggerated (see The Supervisor Code). To begin this discussion, lets review the ratings and their expected corresponding level of accomplishment. See the table below:


Five

Clearly Exceeds standards

Four

Above Average

Three

Meets standards

Two

Doesn't meet standards



To make an EPR bullet match one of the above ratings, it has to agree, both in the level of achievement and in the language used to describe the achievement. Bullet statements for a five rating must describe performance that is above and beyond what is normally expected. It must be an accomplishment that most people do not achieve. The bullets for a four rating must demonstrate performance that, at least, exceeded standards. To earn a three rating, performance only has to meet standards. And performance that did not meet standards or needs improvement is indicated with a two rating.



Writing Bullet Comments with Appropriate Language

In addition to describing performance that earns or justifies a particular rating, bullet statements must be written in language that is appropriate for the rating. Impact statements for 5 rating bullets should use words like exceeded, surpassed, unparalleled, or best. These words or language that describe the highest level of accomplishment support a rating of five. If your bullet statement doesn't neccessarily justify a rating of five, you can still adjust the language and use adjectives appropriate for a five rating to suggest that the bullet does describe performance that deserves a five, thereby raising the level of your EPR.

Below are examples written in the language appropriate for each level of EPR rating. The same EPR bullet is used for all ratings for clarity:


Five

A five rating is awarded for achievements that clearly exceeded requirements and are represented by words such as exceeded, surpassed, bested, pinnacle of achievement, a record --any language that would indicate that the accomplishment clearly exceeded normal requirements. Words like unmatched, unequaled, unrivaled, peerless, etc also indicate superior performance.

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, surpassed unit goals, reduced unnecessary retransmissions by 50%”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, streamlined procedures, reduced necessary man-hours and produced best rate in Battalion”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, saved $10K in TDY costs by gathering info by teleconference, a record savings!”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; maintained a 99% operational rate despite 50% manning deployed, an unequaled accomplishment”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; best performer in section, directly responsible for unit's escalating success”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; best on-time delivery rate in 5 years; a peerless performance!”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, support was unmatched and key to success of OPERATION ANVIL TREE”

Note: These are not the only words that may be used to indicate superior or top performance. Use any words that describe the highest level of accomplishment. Other words or phrases might be supreme, dominant, exceptional, etc.




Four

A four rating is awarded for performance that is above average and is described by words similar to those used for a five rating except that adjectives that indicate the highest level of achievement should not be used. Adjectives such as top, pinnacle, or any word that stratifies the statement as the absolute best should be avoided. This is a gray area though. Generally, the same language used for a five rating is acceptable for a four rating.

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, surpassed unit goals, reduced unnecessary retransmissions by 50%”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, streamlined procedures, reduced necessary man-hours and produced impressive processing rate”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, saved $10K in TDY costs by gathering info by teleconference, a laudable achievement!

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; maintained a 99% operational rate despite 50% manning deployed, recognized by Flt Chief

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; superior performer exceeds standards, directly responsible for unit's escalating success”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; best on-time delivery rate in 5 years; an inspired performance!”

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, support was unmatched and key to success of OPERATION ANVIL TREE”

Note: These are not the only words that may be used to indicate performance that is above average. Use any words that describe performance that is above average. Other words or phrases might be superior, admirable, noteworthy, etc.




Three

A three rating recognizes performance that only meets standards and is described by words like met, complied with, answered --anything that would indicate that the accomplishment met normal requirements. Words like maintained, ensured, continued, etc also indicate acceptable performance or performance that met standards.

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, soley responsible for section meeting transmission goals!” (meeting goals is the same as meeting standards and therefore describes a level of performance appropriate for a three rating.)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, streamlined procedures, reduced necessary man-hours to comply with standards” ("comply with standards" means about the same as "meets standards" or "did what was required" and doesn't show an effort that goes beyond what is expected.)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, saved $10K in TDY costs by gathering info by teleconference to stay within budget” ("stay within budget" is another way of saying "complying with limits" or "meets standards".)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; maintained a 90% operational rate under all conditions” ("maintained" is another way of saying "met standards" or "complied with requirements" or "continued as before", and often indicates a status quo rather than any kind of improvement.)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; performance ensured flights's continued success!” (lacks adjectives that stratifies performance such as best, superior, unmatched, etc. Also, the word "continued" implies a status quo and no improvement.)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; motivation and teamwork ensured on-time delivery goals met 5 years straight” (the accomplishment is weakened by using the word "teamwork" to divide the credit among several people. In addition, the term "goals met" (rather than "goals exceeded") is appropriate for a three rating.)

“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, support key to success of OPERATION ANVIL TREE” (The term "support" does not specify individual achievement but suggests a team effort which weakens the bullet somewhat and makes it common enough to be a three rating bullet comment.)




Two

A rating of two is used to document performance that does not meet established requirements and is described by language like, did not complete all requirements, failed to meet goals, despite efforts could not perform at required level, etc --any language that indicates that the accomplishment did not meet requirements.

Although the below examples are relevant, when a rating of two is appropriate, the rater usually doesn't go to much trouble to dignify the bullet statement and simply states how the ratee failed to meet standards (such as "...his repeated refusal to follow orders affected his ability to...".

“completed over 80 ops reports with 80% accuracy, maintained progress toward goal of 200 reports a year” ("maintained progress toward goal" is a polite way of stating that the person being rated did not achieve the goal this rating period and needs improvement.)

“completed over 80 ops reports with 80% accuracy, with practice and further training, will reduce required completion time” ("with further practice and training" suggests that the person does not perform at the required level now and therefore needs improvement. The words, "will reduce" indicate that no improvement has been made yet but may be in the future. This further emphasizes weak performance.)

“completed over 80 ops reports with 80% accuracy, identified method that may reduce costs if implemented” (Use the words, "may" and "if" to avoid stating that a person actually achieved anything.)

“completed over 80 ops reports with 50% accuracy; maintained a 50% operational rate despite 50% manning deployed” (Describe an actual lack of achievement to demonstrate a need to improve.)

“completed over 80 ops reports with 80% accuracy; has potential to be a great operator” (Use the word, "potential", to indicate that a person may be a great operator some day but is not one now and therefore needs improvement.)



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