The Navy has cancelled fall E-4 advancement exams for active, full-time support and Selected Reserve (SELRES) Sailors and instead will rank order advancement-eligible E-3 Sailors to limit possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
It's the same method used successfully for this past spring’s active and reserve full-time support E-4 advancements. The only change for the fall cycle will be the addition of SELRES candidates.
The cancellation was announced in NAVADMIN 222/20 Aug. 7 and impacts all E-4 exams scheduled to be given as part of the Active Duty (AD) and Full Time Support (FTS) Cycle 248 as well as the Selected Reserve (SELRES) Cycle 107, both were originally scheduled for September.
The only exception will be those E-4 SELRES in the Prior Service Reenlistment Eligibility – Reserve (PRISE-R) program who will still take exams in order to make their rates permanent.
All other eligible E-3 Sailors will be ranked for advancement using an alternative Final Multiple Score (FMS) rank-order method without inclusion of the exam score from a proctored exam.
The message also outlined the Navy's plans for administering September's E-5 and E-6 exams on a staggered schedule throughout September as a further precaution against spreading the virus.
"The Navy’s advancement team, in coordination with fleet leadership, has developed policy in this naval administrative message to ensure the safety of our Sailors during the COVID-19 outbreak, while still ensuring that all the Sailors we advance have the proficiency, expertise and demonstrated capability to lead at the next level," Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., said.
Using this method to determine who advances, he said, maintains “the high standards and culture of learning that drive our enlisted advancement system.”
This means that because the Naval Education Training and Professional Development Center (NETPDC) will not receive E-4 exam answer sheets, it is essential that commands scrub the records of their advancement eligible Sailors to ensure every E-4 Enlisted Advancement Worksheet (EAWs) in the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) is accurate and up to date.
For active-duty and FTS Cycle 248, commands will have until Sept. 25 to finalize worksheets. Selected Reserve Cycle 107 E-4 EAWs must be completed by Sept. 30.
The plan for active and FTS E-5 and E-6 exams is to administer them in separate testing windows throughout September. E-6 exams will happen between Sept. 1-16, with E-5 exams being administered Sept. 17-30.
Selected Reserve E-5 and E-6 as well as the E-4 PRISE-R exams will be given between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31.
Every effort should be made to spread the administration of the exams evenly throughout each window in order to minimize the number of exam-takers at each administration as well as allowing for maximum physical distancing.
Commands are also strongly encouraged to test all candidates for a given rating on the same day to maintain exam integrity.
Once exams are given, ESOs are encouraged to expeditiously mail in answer sheet packages to NETPDC and not hold any taken exams until the end of the testing window. This will ensure exams are processed and results are released in a timely manner.
The results are anticipated to be released sometime in November 2020. However, the message said this is heavily dependent on accurate worksheets being submitted up front and prompt returning of answer sheets once exams are taken.
Direct any questions to the points of contact listed in NAVADMIN 222/20.
The latest DoD policies can be found at: https://www.defense.gov/explore/spotlight/coronavirus.
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