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Category Rating Briefing. Regina James NOAA Staffing and Position Management Program Manager Policies and Program Management Office Workforce Management Office Serving NOAA’s Most Valuable Asset – People January 2008 . Purpose.

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Category rating briefing

Category Rating Briefing

Regina James

NOAA Staffing and Position Management Program Manager

Policies and Program Management Office

Workforce Management Office

Serving NOAA’s Most Valuable Asset – People

January 2008


  • Category Rating is an alternative to traditional rating and ranking for delegated examining positions.

  • The purpose of category rating is to increase the number of eligible candidates on delegated examining certificates from which a selecting official can choose, while preserving veterans’ preference rights.


  • HR Bulletin #066 dated August 30, 2007, authorizes the use of the category rating flexibility throughout the Department for all positions, which are not covered by the Luevano Consent Decree, when competitive examining procedures are used to fill vacancies.

  • NOAA will not establish supplemental guidance implementing this flexibility as the DOC bulletin covers the mandatory points for use of category rating.

Basic components
Basic Components

  • Requires use of job-related competencies (KSAs).

  • Candidates are ranked by pre-defined categories and NOT ranked in numeric score order.

  • Three categories established by the Department:

    • GOLD (Best Qualified)

    • SILVER (Highly Qualified)

    • BRONZE (Qualified)

  • Selection is made from the highest quality category.

Basic components 2
Basic Components (2)

  • Applicants must meet minimum qualification requirements, then assigned to the appropriate quality category.

  • All eligible candidates in the highest quality category are referred to the selecting official.

  • Preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within each quality category.

  • A not qualified category must not be established.


  • The use of category rating is authorized for positions announced under our delegated examining (DE) authority. Therefore, we cannot issue a combined MAP and DE announcement as we are using two separate rating processes.

  • Category Rating cannot be used to announce positions covered by the Luevano Consent Decree.

  • Must state that the category rating process will be used.

Announcements 2
Announcements (2)

  • Must state how veterans’ preference is applied.

  • Must include a description of the three quality categories.

  • Will consider all eligible CTAP and ICTAP applicants who exceed basic qualifications and are placed in the gold or silver category as meeting the regulatory definition of well qualified.

Veteran s preference
Veteran’s Preference

  • Preference eligibles must be identified

  • No preference points are added to scores

  • Preference eligibles must be placed above non-preference eligibles within each category (Gold, Silver or Bronze)

    • Qualified preference eligibles with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more (CPS) and those with a compensable service-connected disability of more than 10% but less than 30% (CP) move from the category in which originally placed to the top of the highest category – EXCEPT for scientific or professional positions at the GS-9 level (or equivalent) or higher

    • Preference eligibles who do not have a service-connected disability of 10% or more (TP/XP) are assigned to appropriate quality category (Gold, Silver or Bronze) based solely on job related assessment (i.e., responses to Experience Questions in vacancy announcement and required KSAs)

Merging categories
Merging Categories

  • Combines highest category with the next lower category

  • Optional

  • Use when fewer than 3 qualifying applicants in the highest quality category

  • Newly merged category is the new highest quality category

  • Preference eligibles must be listed ahead of non-preference eligibles in the newly merged category

  • Decision to merge can be made at two points in hiring process:

    • Before issuing a certificate of eligibles

    • Before selecting an eligible

Order of referral
Order of Referral

  • CTAP eligibles

  • RPL eligibles

  • ICTAP eligibles

  • Eligibles who lost consideration due to prior erroneous certification

  • All qualified eligibles in the highest quality category

Selection process
Selection Process

  • May select from highest quality category without being limited to the top three eligible candidates

  • May NOT select a non-preference eligible over a preference eligible

  • Approvals to pass over a preference eligible must be obtained from the Director for Human Resources Management at the Department (Follow procedures established in HR Bulletin #001 dated March 10, 2005.)

Reporting requirements
Reporting Requirements

  • Quarterly delegated examining workload reports must include your category rating numbers, along with your traditional rating numbers.

  • Notify Regina James by e-mail ([email protected]) when a category rating announcement has been issued with the vacancy announcement number.


  • DOC Human Resources (HR) Bulletin #066, FY 07 dated August 30, 2007

  • Public Law 107-296, Homeland Security Act of 2002, dated November 25, 2002

  • 5 USC 3319

  • 5 CFR Part 337, Subpart C

  • Delegated Examining Operations Handbook, Chapter 5, Section B