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Will I be in the same 'pool' as all TSgts in my unit? Airmen must score at least 40 out of 100 for each test, and the combined scores must be at least 90.That means, for example, an airman who scores the minimum 40 on the SKT must score at least a 50 on the PFE to be promotion-eligible.Over time, EPR scores inflated until most airmen received a so-called "firewall 5" out of five possible points, rendering the score effectively useless at differentiating between levels of performance.Instead, beginning this year, supervisors will assess airmen's performance by choosing from a series of prewritten responses on the revised EPR form, which best describe an airman's duty performance.
Every audience I talk to, we talk about this."After years of preparation, the Air Force started unveiling parts of the new system in 2014, beginning with the new feedback form called the Airman Comprehensive Assessment. "We've really wanted our airmen to focus on the task at hand.At promotion time, commanders will take eligible airmen's EPRs and slot them into one of at least four categories, the top of which will be for airmen who are most highly recommended for promotion. There's so many ways it could be split up, and depending on how they do it could dramatically alter the number [of] '5s' and '4s' they have to give out.""Forced distribution will be across AFSCs, not by AFSC," Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said in a Jan. "When a commander applies forced distribution, he or she will use the performance assessment along with input from supervisors at all levels to determine which airmen have the greatest potential for promotion, and therefore should receive the highest promotion recommendation."But the Air Force has not yet decided at which level forced distribution will be applied.The top two categories will have quotas so only a certain percentage of eligible airmen will end up with recommendations. Reader Jared Schlenker also said in a comment on Air Force Times' Facebook page, "Quotas confuse the hell out of me.""So each squadron boss has to determine his top performers, OK," Schlenker said. So some of those Thunderbird maintainers are going to be rated lower than folks in other squadrons, simply by virtue of a percentage, even though they are supposed to be the best around."In his email, Cody said the Air Force has no plan to adjust forced distribution for certain units."We certainly have great airmen across our Air Force, and we deliberately put high-performing airmen in certain positions," Cody said. But that doesn't necessarily mean those airmen are the best or most knowledgeable in our Air Force.Related: Timeline of new enlisted promotion system While many airmen might want to know everything now, the Air Force is keeping some of its cards close to its vest. We don't want them, right now, to be too focused on the future pieces."One such piece of information that is not yet being released, for example, is the percentages that will be used for the forced distribution, or quotas, of airmen most highly recommended for promotion under the new system.Those percentages will be unveiled this summer, Kelly said, and will first be put into place in November, for the closeout date for technical sergeants hoping to make master sergeant. Quotas One of the biggest changes is the elimination of the five-point numerical rating system that previously made up enlisted performance report scores.