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NPR 3319.1C
Effective Date: September 02, 2021
Expiration Date: September 02, 2026
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Management of Scientific and Professional (ST) and Senior-Level (SL) Positions (Updated with Change 1, on August 3, 2023)

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | Chapter9 | AppendixA | AppenixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | ALL |

Chapter 5. Performance Management

5.1 System Provisions

5.1.1 This system encourages excellence in performance; facilitates the accurate evaluation of performance based on results; provides for the systematic appraisal of performance; and provides a basis for pay, performance awards, development, retention, removal, and other personnel decisions. The Performance Management System enhances the achievement of Agency goals by expecting and encouraging technical excellence in performance, achieving results through effective technical leadership, and holding STs and SLs accountable for results.

5.1.2 Appraisal Period

a. The ST and SL performance appraisal period is October 1 through September 30.

b. ST and SL employees receive an Annual Summary Rating.

c. The minimum period of performance that will be completed before a performance rating can be given is 90 days.

d. When an employee has not served under a performance plan for the minimum period of 90 days, they may not receive an appraisal (rating of record). In this case, the employee's appraisal period is extended to September 30 of the following year, unless an exception is approved by the Administrator.

e. The rating official may end an appraisal period at any time after the minimum appraisal period is completed, if there is an adequate basis on which to appraise and rate the employee.

5.1.3 Summary Performance Levels The system includes five summary performance levels:

a. Level 5 (Distinguished)

b. Level 4 (Meritorious)

c. Level 3 (Successful)

d. Level 2 (Minimally Satisfactory)

e. Level 1 (Unsatisfactory)

5.1.4 In accordance with Performance Management, 5 CFR pt. 430, the Agency ST and SL appraisal program uses summary rating pattern level H.

5.1.5 Performance Management System Overview The ST and SL performance management system is integrated into the Agency's Executive Performance Appraisal System (EPAS). Major components of the system include:

a. Participative performance planning.

b. Setting goals and expectations that are directly linked to organizational and Agency strategic goals and objectives.

c. Continuous performance monitoring.

d. Annual appraisal of employee performance using measures that balance individual and organizational results. The results of performance appraisals and ratings provide a basis for determining performance-based pay increases, performance awards, development, retention, removal, and other personnel decisions. An employee with an annual summary rating of Successful (Level 3) or above is eligible to be considered for a performance award and a performance-based increase in pay.

5.2 Details or Position Changes

5.2.1 The rating official is responsible for performance appraisals and ratings of employees detailed or matrixed to other organizations.

5.2.2 When an employee is detailed/matrixed to a position, project, or set of unclassified duties for 90 days or longer during the rating period, the supervisor to whom the employee is detailed/matrixed shall establish performance expectations for the employee and provide written feedback to the rating official to consider when evaluating the employee's performance.

5.2.3 When an employee changes jobs or transfers to another agency after completing the minimum appraisal period (90 days), the rating official will appraise the employee's performance in writing before the employee departs for the new supervisor's consideration.

5.3 Documenting Performance Activities

Rating officials shall document performance management activities (e.g., performance discussions, plans, accomplishments, receipt of plans, progress reviews, and ratings) in EPAS.

5.4 Performance Planning and Appraisal Process

5.4.1 Critical Elements Rating officials, in consultation with employees, establish and communicate written performance plans (also referred to as performance agreements) within 30 days of the beginning of the appraisal period (October 1) or within 30 days of an employee's assignment to the position. At a minimum, plans will include the following required critical elements and performance requirements.

a. Leading Innovation: Bringing about strategic change in a continuously changing environment.

b. Building Coalitions: Developing alliances across agencies to achieve goals.

c. Technical Leadership: Fostering development of others while facilitating teamwork.

d. Results Driven: Specific and measurable results that address high-level outputs or services, include quality measures, and are aligned to the Agency strategic plan or organizational goals.

Note: Diversity and inclusion are essential components of employees' performance.

Refer to Agency guidance on how to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the employee's critical elements. Critical Element Weights

a. Each critical element is assigned a weighted value, with the total weights adding to 100 points.

b. The professional competencies (Leading Innovation, Building Coalitions and Technical Leadership) represent up to 40 percent of the employee's performance requirements.

c. The Results Driven critical element is at least 60 percent of the performance requirements and is focused on achieving measurable results.

d. All weights are assigned in 5 point increments. Critical elements and weights assigned are subject to change; refer to Agency guidance for current information, complete definitions, and examples. Rating officials shall:

a. Consult with appropriate officials when establishing performance objectives and expectations when employees are expected to support projects or programs external to their assigned organization during the rating period.

b. Develop performance plans that contain Agency-approved critical elements and performance standards signed and dated by both the rating official and employee to document the receipt of the plan and the performance planning discussion.

c. Follow Agency guidance for establishing performance standards with measurable outputs and outcomes that are clearly aligned to Agency and organizational goals and objectives.

5.5 Performance Standards for Critical Elements

5.5.1 The performance standards are management-approved expressions of the standard threshold(s), requirement(s), or expectation(s) that employees are expected to meet to be appraised at a particular level of performance.

5.5.2 The performance management system establishes the performance standards for Level 5 (Distinguished) through Level 1 (Unsatisfactory). At a minimum, performance plans will describe the range of performance expectations and measurements for a Successful (Level 3) rating or equivalent.

5.5.3 Each critical element is appraised against the established performance standards and specific measures, as applicable, by applying the performance standards individually to each critical element. Each critical element is further defined in the NASA Performance Management Manual for Senior Professionals.

5.6 Monitoring Performance/Progress Reviews

5.6.1 A progress review may be initiated at any time by the rating official or the employee. At a minimum, the rating official will conduct a progress review at least once during the appraisal period usually at or around the midpoint of the appraisal period (March 31), unless the employee has been on the performance plan for less than 90 days. In that case, the progress review may be delayed until such time the rating official has had sufficient time to evaluate the employee's performance.

5.6.2 The primary purpose of a progress review is to:

a. Discuss the employee's performance and provide relevant feedback regarding progress.

b. Discuss future expectations, and as applicable, provide advice and assistance on how to improve performance (including through the discussion of potential developmental opportunities).

c. Identify and discuss any issues that may be impacting the achievement of the performance goals.

d. If applicable, revise the plan to reflect any new performance expectations or changes to existing performance expectations.

e. Document the performance discussion on the performance plan.

5.7 Rating Critical Elements

5.7.1 Rating officials shall:

a. Assess the progress and accomplishments achieved by each employee against established standards.

b. Appraise and determine a rating (Level 5 to 1) using the performance standards level definitions for "Critical Elements" provided in the NASA Performance Management Manual for Senior Professionals and on the ST or SL Performance Agreement in EPAS, along with any other additional specific requirements/standards that may be established for a particular element.

c. Establish additional requirements under the Results Driven critical element that is established annually by the PRB.

(1) The Rating Official will assign a rating level for the Results Driven critical element based on the his or her assessment as to the overall accomplishments achieved by the executive for listed sub-elements.

(a) The Rating Official will use the specific measures that are established for each objective in the Results Driven critical element to assess performance and assign a single rating level to the whole element.

(b) No rating level is assigned to individual sub-elements.

d. Using informal or formal mechanisms to gather performance input, obtain and consider feedback from individuals knowledgeable of the employee's performance as follows:

(1) When rating supervisors, consider input from subordinate employees and customers.

(2) When rating non-supervisory employees, consider input from customers.

e. When an employee has worked across organizational lines or on projects or programs in other organizations, consult with project leads or management officials who are knowledgeable of the employee's performance to consider their input (often referred to as Supplemental Input).5.7.2 Weight values are established and assigned to each critical element, with a total of 100 points. The PRB will establish the weight ranges each year. Weight assignments are determined at the agency level.

5.7.3 The following is an example of what the weight values and assignments look like.

Weight ST and SL Critical Elements Range
40% Leading Innovation 5%-20%
Building Coalitions 5%-20%
Technical Leadership 5%-20%
60% Results-Driven 60%

5.8 Deriving the Summary Rating

5.8.1 Once the rating for each critical element is determined, the following point values will be assigned to the element ratings:

a. Level 5 = 5 points

b. Level 4 = 4 points

c. Level 3 = 3 points

d. Level 2 = 2 points

e. Level 1 = 0 points

5.8.2 The derivation formula is calculated as follows:

a. If any critical element is rated Level 1 (Unsatisfactory), the overall summary rating is Unsatisfactory. If no critical element is rated Level 1 (Unsatisfactory), continue to the next step.

b. For each critical element, the point value of the element rating is multiplied by the weight assigned to that element.

c. The results from the previous step for each of the four critical elements is added to come to a total score.

d. Assign the initial summary rating using the ranges below:

(1) 475-500 = Level 5

(2) 400-474 = Level 4

(3) 300-399 = Level 3

(4) 200-299 = Level 2

(5) Any critical element rated Level 1 = Level 1

Note: Examples of derivation formula with additional information are included in the NASA Performance Management Manual for Senior Professionals.

5.9 Initial Summary Ratings

5.9.1 Rating officials will complete a written Initial Summary Rating no later than 30 days after the end of the rating period. This rating will be based on the evaluation of performance in each critical element in accordance with this directive and Agency guidance on rating definitions, weighting, etc.

5.9.2 An Initial Summary Rating of Unacceptable (Level 1) is subject to review and approval by a higher level management official other than the rating official who assigned the rating.

5.9.3 The Agency PRB reviews the ratings and provides recommended ratings to the Administrator for final approval.

5.10 Annual Summary Ratings (Rating of Record)

The Administrator determines the final annual summary rating taking into consideration the recommendation from the PRB. Once approved by the Administrator, the final rating is provided to the employee.

5.11 Termination of Appraisal Period

5.11.1 When there is a need to complete a performance appraisal (for example, an employee is leaving the position) the rating official completes an appraisal when the following conditions are met:

a. The employee has been on an approved performance plan for at least 90 days.

b. The rating official determines that they have had an adequate amount of time to evaluate the employee's performance.

5.12 Documenting Completion of Rating/Appraisal Activities

5.12.1 If an employee is unable or refuses to sign a performance plan, progress review, or rating of record, it does not preclude the rating from being final. An employee's signature only acknowledges receipt of the rating; it does not imply agreement.

5.12.2 Preparing for the Next Rating Period. During the appraisal discussion, the rating official and employee should begin performance planning for the next appraisal period. A written performance plan will be provided to the employee within 30 days after the beginning of the new rating period.

5.13 Unsatisfactory Performance, Requests for Higher Level Review, and Grievances

5.13.1 Failure to Meet Performance Expectations At any time during the rating period, when a rating official determines that an employee's performance is less than Successful (Level 3) in one or more of their performance elements, the rating official shall provide the employee a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance, often referred to as a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). The PIP notifies the employee of the critical element(s) for which performance is unacceptable and informs the employee of the performance standard(s), including specific measures to be attained to demonstrate acceptable performance (i.e., minimally satisfactory or equivalent). The PIP is developed in accordance with requirements in Performance Based Reduction in Grade and Removal Actions, 5 CFR pt. 432, this directive, and Agency guidance for addressing poor performance.

5.14 Opportunity for a Higher Level Review

5.14.1 The employee is entitled to request a review of their Initial Summary Rating by a higher level official before that rating is presented to the Agency PRB.

5.14.2 The higher level reviewer will be designated by the OCHCO and may not necessarily be in the same organization as the ST or SL.

5.14.3 An ST or SL employee may request a higher level review.

5.14.4 The higher level reviewer may not change the initial summary rating, but may recommend a different rating to the PRB and the appointing authority.

5.14.5 Taking into consideration the results of the higher level review, the PRB makes a recommendation to the Administrator. The Administrator (or designee) makes the final determination, which concludes the Agency higher level review process.

5.15 Grievances of Ratings/Appraisals

Performance appraisals and ratings may not be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board; however, they may be grieved under NPR 3771.1, NASA's Agency Grievance System (AGS) or under the Center's negotiated grievance procedures, as applicable.

5.16 Records Management

5.16.1 In accordance with Privacy Act provisions and applicable regulatory and Agency requirements, performance records will be maintained in EPAS for no less than five years from the date the Annual Summary Rating is issued.

5.16.2 The Rating Official is responsible for ensuring the employee has access to the following documents in EPAS at the time they are prepared:

a. The performance plan.

b. The Initial Summary Rating, including the overall performance assessment narrative.

c. Written notification of the right to request a higher level review.

d. Any written comments and/or recommendations for a different rating by a higher level reviewing official.

e. The final Annual Summary Rating.

5.16.3 Performance records will, at a minimum, include:

a. Performance plan.

b. Documentation of mid-point review.

c. Self-assessments provided by the employee.

d. The initial and annual summary ratings.

e. As applicable, written input from officials to which the employee was detailed or matrixed or any feedback that was considered during the appraisal process.

f. Any written comments and/or recommendation(s) from a higher level reviewing official.

g. Recommendations from the PRB.

5.16.4 When an employee transfers to a new agency, the official performance records that are 5 years old or less are forwarded, along with the employees Official Personnel File, to the new agency in accordance with regulatory requirements and Agency guidance. If the employee leaves the Federal service, the records are forwarded to the National Personnel Records Center.

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | Chapter9 | AppendixA | AppenixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | ALL |
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