At the end of the appraisal period, the supervisor considers feedback provided by the employee, customers, and management to evaluate the employee’s accomplishments. This section describes the requirements and procedures for providing the annual rating of record.
Timeframe for Ratings
The performance appraisal cycle ends on September 30 of each year. Performance ratings must be completed within 30 days after the end of the performance cycle (October 30).
Minimum Appraisal Period
The minimum appraisal period is 90 days. An employee must be covered by performance standards by June 30 in order to be evaluated by the end of the cycle (September 30). If the employee has not served under performance standards for 90 days, the appraisal period should be extended. For example, if an employee begins work in a new position on July 27 and his/her performance plan is established and communicated on August 1, the appraisal period should be extended until November 1 and a rating of record prepared at that time.
Input from Former Supervisors
When an employee has had a performance plan in place for the minimum period (90 days) and works under different supervisors during the appraisal period, each supervisor of 90 days or more must prepare an interim appraisal and forward it to the employee’s rating official for appropriate consideration.
If there is a permanent change in the immediate supervisor during the rating cycle, former and new supervisors should ensure that employees get a performance rating for the cycle. The former supervisor should forward an advisory rating to the new supervisor, who will consider it when assigning the performance rating at the end of the rating cycle.
Input from Team Leaders and Acting Supervisors
Team Leaders should provide input regarding the performance of team members to the supervisor. Team Leaders should not conduct or sign performance appraisals for team members, unless designated by the supervisor and assigned the responsibility in the Team Leader’s position description.
Acting Supervisors should provide input regarding the performance of employees to the Reviewing Official. Reviewing Officials are responsible for conducting and signing performance evaluations until the supervisory position is permanently filled.
Ratings for Employees on Details and/or Temporary Promotions
If an employee is detailed into a different position within the organization or is temporarily promoted for more than 120 days, the supervisor responsible for the detail or temporary promotion must establish elements and standards and communicate them, in writing, to the employee normally within 30 days of the start of the detail or temporary promotion. An interim progress review must be conducted to document the employee's accomplishments at the end of the detail or temporary promotion and provided to the employee’s rating official for consideration in the final rating of record.
If an employee is detailed into a different position within the Department or is temporarily promoted for 120 days or less, written performance elements and standards are not required. The supervisor responsible for the detail or temporary promotion should document the employee’s accomplishments at the end of the detail or temporary promotion and forward it to the employee’s rating official for appropriate consideration.
When employees are detailed outside of the Agency or Staff Office, the rating official must make a reasonable effort to obtain appraisal information from the outside organization.
Performance Appraisals for Employees on Active Military Duty
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) require federal agencies to treat employees who deploy to perform military service as if they never left their civilian jobs.
A performance rating cannot be prepared unless the employee has completed the 90 day minimum appraisal period.
When a rating cannot be prepared at the end of the appraisal period, regulations require extending the appraisal period until the rating can be prepared (5 CFR 430.208(g) and 430.308(e)).
Federal regulations prohibit presumed and carryover ratings
Ratings must be based only on the evaluation of actual job performance for the designated appraisal period (5 CFR 30.208(a)(1)).
A rating of record may not assume a level of performance without an actual evaluation (5 CFR 430.208(a)(2)).
Agencies may not carry over ratings from a previous appraisal period without an actual evaluation of performance during the subsequent appraisal period (5 CFR 430.208(h)).
Documenting Performance (Completing the AD-435)
The table below describes the procedure for documenting performance:
1. Determine the Rating Level for Each Element
The supervisor determines which of the three element rating levels is most appropriate by comparing the employee’s performance with the fully successful performance standard definition that is established for that element. Then, the supervisor checks the appropriate box on the Form AD-435B to designate the rating for that element as:
“Fully Successful,” or
“Does Not Meet Fully Successful.”
Supervisors must provide either an overall narrative justification of the summary rating or a written justification for each element rating, or both. A written justification is required for any element rated “Does Not Meet Fully Successful”.
2. Determine the Summary Performance Level
After all the elements have been rated, the supervisor transfers element ratings to the AD-435 and determines a summary performance level. There are five summary levels, which are based on the following criteria:
Outstanding: All appraisal units for critical and non-critical elements were earned at the Exceeds Fully Successful level.
Superior: More appraisal units for critical and non-critical elements were earned at the Exceeds Fully Successful level than at the Meets Fully Successful level, and no appraisal units were earned at the Does Not Meet Fully Successful level.
Fully Successful: Appraisal units earned at the Meets Fully Successful level equal or surpass the number of appraisal units earned at the Exceeds Fully Successful level, and no critical element was rated Does Not Meet Fully Successful.
Marginal: More appraisal units (for non-critical elements only) were earned at the Does Not Meet Fully Successful level than at the Exceeds Fully Successful level, and no critical element was rated Does Not Meet Fully Successful.
Unacceptable: One or more critical elements were rated at the Does Not Meet Fully Successful level. Should this occur, the supervisor must contact an employee relations specialist in HRD for guidance on how to proceed.
The supervisor will identify the summary level by checking the appropriate block on the AD-435. Use the decision tree on the AD-435 for additional guidance.
3. Obtain Reviewing Official Approval
The employee’s reviewing official must review and approve the supervisor’s rating of record. The supervisor may not communicate ratings of record to employees prior to approval. This does not preclude preliminary performance discussions between a supervisor and employee prior to the determination of the rating of record.
4. Meet with the Employee/ Employee Certification
The rating official must review the approved rating of record with the employee. The employee's signature on Form AD-435 will serve as certification that such a discussion took place. If this discussion cannot take place or the employee refuses to sign the Form AD-435, the supervisor must document the reason for not having the employee’s signature on Form AD-435. The performance rating is valid and becomes the rating of record when the rating official and reviewing official sign the performance rating and document the reasons why the employee refused to sign the rating of record on Form AD-435.
Note: MRP encourages the use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program as a means to resolve performance disagreements. Please refer to the following for additional information.
APHIS (Employees Only) GIPSA (PDF)
AMS - Employees may call Toll Free – 866-277-0328, or (Washington, DC) 202-690-3017
5. Complete End of Year Performance Process
When a performance rating of record is completed, the supervisor must:
Provide the employee a copy of the completed appraisal and worksheets (Forms AD-435, AD-435A, and AD-435B).
Retain one copy for the EPF.
Provide a copy of the completed rating (Form AD-435 only) to Human Resources Processing in Minneapolis for processing and maintenance.\
Summary ratings (AD-435) sent to HR Processing are maintained for a short period of time following input into the personnel database, and are then shredded. As a result, AD-435 forms are not available for retrieval by HR Processing, and are not filed in the electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF). Link to HR Processing webpage (Employees Only)
Impact of Ratings on Other Personnel Actions
Performance ratings need to be completed timely (within 30 days after the end of the rating cycle) for a variety of reasons. The rating of record impacts other personnel actions, such as: