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How to: The Airman Comprehensive Assessment

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- It has been nearly half a year since the release and implementation of the new Airman Comprehensive Assessment, a comprehensive worksheet that aids in creating feedback between a supervisor/rater and their ratee.

The following is a break-down of the major sections reflected on the form:

III. SELF ASSESSMENT

The new ACA is hardly a one-sided assessment, to be filled out single-handedly by supervisors. For the first time, Airmen will be given a section to evaluate their own performances prior to meeting with their supervisors or raters.

“The change is to help supervisors/raters understand how their Airmen believe they are performing,” said Will Brown, the Air Force Evaluation and Recognition Programs Branch chief. “The supervisor/rater takes that input and provides a more in-depth assessment on how an Airman can improve his or her performance. This also helps the first-line supervisor tailor the session to an Airman’s specific needs.”

Within the self-assessment portion of the ACA is a list of 17 reflection points, categorized under the subheads of responsibility, accountability, Air Force culture and self. Each section contains specific statements of understanding, such as “Understands the importance of leading by example.”

To the right of each reflection point, Airmen are given the opportunity to signal either their understanding, or their need for more information. This section specifically reflects an Airman’s belief of their own knowledge base, and does not take into account whether or not the supervisor agrees with the answers.

“The ACA is not based on whether or not the supervisor concurs with the Airman’s assessment,” Brown said. “The focus and purpose of the ACA is to communicate to the Airmen what is expected, provide them with additional information where needed, and to point them in the right direction for a successful Air Force career.”


SECTION VI. PERFORMANCE: LEADERSHIP, PRIMARY DUTIES, TRAINING

Section VI should seem a bit more familiar to the rater, because it focuses on evaluating an Airman’s performance. The old feedback method was writing bullets detailing the supervisor’s personal expectations for their Airmen, while the updated form has a list of standardized expectations to ensure each Airman has a clear understanding of what’s anticipated of them.

“This area reflects the specific areas identified regarding performance,” Brown said. “The section includes primary duty factors and general military factors. Primary duty factors are generally based on what occurs in the work environment and general military factors are those characteristics that are considered essential to military order, image and tradition.

“Each block should be used to advise the Airman how he or she is currently performing assigned duties, and provide expectations from the rater to the ratee on what performance areas need improvement,” he added.

According to the Air Force Form 931, Air Force Instruction 36-2618, “The Enlisted Force Structure,” should be utilized by the rater as the “standard of expected performance commensurate with the Airman’s rank.” The AFI provides descriptions of the duties and responsibilities of each Air Force rank, which can be used to decide the degree to which the Airman being evaluated complies with the performance expectations listed.

Each topic being rated is listed under a general subhead, such as innovative/motivation, skill level upgrade training, and resource utilization, which is then followed by a brief description of the topic for clarity. The four boxes to the right of each topic represent the grading scale. Each box falls into a category of few, majority, some and very few Airmen -- the number of how many Airmen are expected to be performing at the level listed.

“That information was included to indicate to supervisors where the majority of Airmen should be, and that it is OK – expected – to be completely honest,” Brown said. “Not every Airman will exceed all the expectations set for him or her. Indicating where the majority of Airmen would be in their performance should improve communication between the supervisor and the Airman.”

SECTION IX. KNOWING YOUR AIRMAN

The final section, “Knowing your Airman,” promotes discussion between the Airman and their supervisor/rater.

A list of six questions, ranging from inquiries about the Airman’s goals for self-improvement to what stresses them out, is provided for the supervisor to ask their subordinate.

“The questions are a jumping-off point to assist in opening the communication between the Airman and the supervisor,” Brown said. “(Section IX) was designed … so both may reach better understanding of the Airman’s goals and other areas to put the Airman on a successful career path.”

During this discussion, there is no right or wrong answer to each question, Brown said.

Also there’s a part of section IX where the supervisor/rater is asked to list expectations for the unit and ratee. Similar to the older feedback form, this segment can be used to let Airmen know what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to improve on future endeavors.

“When an ACA is completed, the Airman should know how their supervisor expects them to perform, and should have a better understanding of their responsibility, accountability, Air Force culture and themselves,” Brown said. “Following a session, Airmen will also know in what areas they need to improve. In addition, supervisors should have a better understanding of their Airmen’s goals (personal and professional), how they can help their Airmen reach those goals, and what they can do to assist their Airmen achieve other career goals.”

To review the guidance memo explaining how to use the ACA worksheet, go to the e-Publishing website at www.e-publishing.af.mil and enter AFI36-2406 in the search window. To review the new ACA worksheets, select the forms tab in e-Publishing and enter AF931 or AF932 in the search window.

For more information about enlisted evaluations, and other personnel issues, visit the myPers website. Select "search all components" from the drop down menu and enter "Enlisted: Evaluations Home Page" in the search window. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one at www.retirees.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120510-068.pdf.

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