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How to check your records: 3 common mistakes could kill chance to advance

Mar. 16, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Prepping for your advancement cycle isn’t all about studying.

Getting an advancement edge can come down to tenths or hundredths of a point — that’s why you need to double-check all your records online to make sure you’re getting all the points you merit toward your final multiple — the formula that will make or break your advancement.

“Sailors should scrutinize their worksheet because their advancement depends on this information being accurate, and if something is wrong, they should immediately get it fixed,” said Tom Updike, a retired master chief and advancement official with the Navy Advancement Center. “We get about 30,000 errors in performance mark averages and awards that we have to fix each year.”

Your worksheet is filled out by your command’s educational services officer, who’s required to show it to you before your exam. You’ll need to sign it verifying the information is correct — a step many sailors mess up, to their own detriment.

Though all this data is available in online records, the Navy Advancement Center only uses the data from that command-provided worksheet, which is why sailors need to make sure that data matches what’s in their records.

The three most common mistakes that could hurt your chances:

1. PMA errors. Your performance mark average calculates the average of the numerical values given to your promotion recommendations — noted in Block 45 of the eval form — over a set period of time: eight to nine months for those up for E-4, 14-15 months for those up for E-5, and 36 months for those up for E-6.

Rankings and their values:

■ “Early promote”: 4.0.

■ “Must promote”: 3.8.

■ “Promotable”: 3.6.

■ “Progressing”: 3.4.

■ “Significant problems”: 2.0.

To find your PMA, add up all the eval points you’ve earned over the given time period and divide by the number of evals. Include transfer evals, not just routine ones.

An example: An E-4 up for second class will include all evals over the past nine months. If you had an EP and an MP over that time frame, you’d add the numbers together and divide by two, getting a PMA of 3.9. That’s how you should double-check the score on your worksheet.

2. Awards points. Every medal the Navy gives out nets a sailor points toward advancement. Though officials are mulling changes to how much these will count in the future, those now going up for E-4 and E-5 can earn a maximum of 10 points from awards, and those up for E-6 can net up to 12 points. A list of what points individual awards net is available in the Advancement Manual, accessible at the Navy Personnel Command website, www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/.

Suppose you have two Navy Achievement Medals, a Good Conduct Medal and a letter of commendation from an admiral. The NAMs count for two points each, the GCM for two points and the LOC for one point, for a total of seven points.

List your awards, and tally them up to double-check your score.

3. Education points. Your associate or bachelor’s degree can boost your final multiple by two points and four points, respectively, but officials say many sailors lose out because they’ve never filed the proper documents to get their degrees added to their record.

Sailors can take their college paperwork to their local Navy College office, where officials will certify the degrees and get the points put on the record. Sailors can also work with the Navy College over the phone at 877-838-1659.

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