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Miscalculating Performance: How Relative Values Work, and Why the Marine Corps Should Stop Using Them Open Access

Selection boards in the Marine Corps rely heavily on the relative values of fitness reports to assess performance, but the way these numbers are presented makes them impossible to interpret reliably. As a result, the current process increases the odds boards will make mistakes in retention, promotion, and special assignment decisions. This article dispels some common misperceptions about relative values, explains how they are calculated, and shows why they should not be used the way selection boards currently use them. It then makes several recommendations to address the problem, including abandoning the use of relative values in favor of more transparent metrics.

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