Depending on your unit and chain of command, a varying amount of emphasis is put on making NCOER bullet comments "match" the rating. Since the ratings are Needs Improvement, Success, or Excellence, bullet comments are expected to be written so that they coincide with these ratings. The criteria for these ratings is shown in the table below:
|Needs Improvement||Doesn't meet standards|
To make a bullet comment match one of the above ratings, it has to agree, both in the level of achievement and/or in the language used to describe the achievement. Below are examples of bullet comments appropriate for each level of rating:
Exceeds standards; demonstrated by specific example(s) and measurable results; achieved by only a few; clearly better than most. Examples:
- received Physical Fitness Badge
- qualified entire squad as expert with M-16 and M-60
- awarded the expert Infantryman Badge (EIB)
Meets all standards; fully competitive for schooling and promotion; counseling goal is to bring all NCOs to this level. Examples:
- shares experiences readily, constantly teaching soldiers
- constantly seeking to improve, completed three subcourses during rating period
- coached and played on company softball team
- established a comprehensive cross training program for his section
- his platoon had only one vehicle on deadline report (for only 10 days) during last year
Missed meeting some standard. Examples:
- was unaware of whereabouts of subordinates on some occasions
- did not meet company deadline rate goals due to lack of focus
- did not achieve required fitness levels, lacked endurance/stamina
- unprepared to conduct formal training on three occasions
- failed to meet APFT standards for the two mile run and sit-ups with a total score of 148
As you can see, bullet comments for Excellence ratings 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 rating of success must demonstrate performance that, at least, meets standards.
Writing Bullet Comments with Appropriate Language
In addition to describing performance that earns a particular rating as shown above, bullet comments must be written in language that is appropriate for the rating. Impact statements for Excellence bullets should use words like exceeded, surpassed, unparalleled, or best. These words or language that describes the highest level of performance indicate a rating of Excellence. If your bullet comment doesn't neccessarily rate as Excellent, you can still adjust the language and use adjectives appropriate for an Excellent rating to suggest that it is an Excellent rating, thereby raising the level of your NCOER.
Below are examples, using our old bullet comment example, written in the language appropriate for each level of NCOER bullet comment, Excellence, Success, and Needs Improvement:
A rating of Excellence is used for achievements that 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 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, top performance. Use any words that describe the highest level of accomplishment. Other words or phrases might be above average, unprecedented, dominant, exceptional, etc.
A rating of Success is used for accomplishments that met requirements and are represented by words such as, 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 rating of Success.)
"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 despite 50% manning deployed" ("maintained" is another way of saying "met standards" or "complied with requirements" or "continued as before", and indicates a status quo rather than any kind of improvement, much less exceeding standards.)
"completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy; performance ensured platoon'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 Success bullet)
"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 Success bullet comment.)
A rating of Needs Improvement is used for accomplishments that do 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. Words like strived, tried, potential, progressed, improved, etc, are also used to indicate substandard performance.
"completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, maintained progress toward goal of 200 reports a year" ("maintained progress toward goal" indicates that the person being rated did not achieve the goal this rating period and needs improvement.)
"completed over 120 ops reports with 100% 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 weakens the bullet.)
"completed over 120 ops reports with 100% 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 120 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 120 ops reports with 100% 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.)