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NSS Facts

Heloanjin

Active Member
pilot
Why do you get a tentative NSS before you're done? Because the Navy is addicted to NSS. Everyone thinks it says something about quality of performance. Plus, just about every student fixates on what their NSS is going to be.

So, the squadron tries to ease your apprehensions by giving you a look at what might be. With only a few flights left to go, your Score isn't likely to change much. And if you are selecting any week other then the first week of the month, the population you are compared to will not change. Even if you are selecting the first week of the month, the population change isn't likely to be very dramatic. So, why not? The tentative NSS you get is usually plus or minus 5. Good enough, right?

Of course, if you've just gotta have jets and you're told you have a 52 before you're done, you may be in for a big fall when your actual comes in under 50. Or maybe you're given a tentative of 48 and you don't put jets down as a choice since you don't have jet grades, but then your final is 52, you may think you just got hosed. When, in fact you hosed yourself because you worried too much about a number that DOESN"T MEAN A THING as far as being a Naval Aviator is concerned.

I say this as much for IPs, COs and fleet aviators as I do for students.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
All in all, in the Navy if you get jets, you earned them by your flying.
In the Air Force...notsomuch...But I still think the combination of th MIF and NSS systems needs to be reevaluated.
( I was trained on both...Above/Below as an SNFO...MIF as an SNA)
It has been evaluated, and it was determined that the NSS needs to go away. The hold up, you ask? TW-1 (and maybe the K-rock guys). They drug their feet for so long that they hadn't switched to the MIF system. It's supposed to happen "soon," and then NSS will go away.

As for all your anecdotes about NSS' failings, you're combining stories. Yes, it's dumb that you can complete, but not advance. I agree, a failing of the NSS system, but talking about how AF guys can go on may not be that simple. Some may even be Guard guys. But I'm sure you probably know their ridiculous deal.

As an interesting side note... Statistically (read that again, "statistically") low 50s NSS out of Primary have a hard time completing Jet advanced. No doubt there will be plenty of people who just HAVE to tell me that that's not true because they made it through. Congrats, bully for you. But historically, it's true.
 

Heloanjin

Active Member
pilot
OK, my example wasn't that good. But I haven't heard any good reasons to provide an NSS before completing, either.

MIF isn't a hybrid USAF/USN system. Yes, the Navy saw how the Air Force was doing it, but the Air Force got the idea from the civilian world. It has been around for a very long time. And, if an IP is trying to grade like an above/below system, they are doing it wrong. I know, many IPs grade that way because that's the way they trained and they are too lazy to learn the proper methodolgy.

RetreadRand said:
The bigger question is why we have an NSS when we use the MIF system in the first place. The 2 systems are incompatible.
MPTS and NSS are not incompatible. MPTS provides a measure of your performance against objective criteria. NSS simply provides a ranking. What is incompatible is using NSS as a measure of performance. Particularly since NSS can't measure performance.

However, that being said,

MPTS requires students to actually exceed some performance standards. Much like when you take the PRT, if you meet the minimum in each category, then you still fail the PRT. The same thing works with MPTS. If all you do is just meet MIF at the end of each block, then you really haven’t met the minimum Navy standards. I quote, “Students who consistently perform at the absolute minimum standard through multiple stages may not possess the skills required to complete follow-on training. MIF is designed to allow for minimum performance in a specific area with the understanding that performance above the minimum MIF will offset the weak area.” To ensure you have met the minimum standards, if you complete with less than a 35 NSS, you will be looked at a second time by your command just to make sure that you really do have what it takes to be a Naval aviator.
Prior to MPTS, any student with less than a 35 NSS was attrited. Waivers could be granted on a case by case basis. From the time MPTS was instituted to sometime in 2006, every student who finished Primary went on to Advanced. There was no minimum NSS. But there were a few students who should not have continued. Just ask the HT IPs who tried to train them. So, to improve the screening, a Command Assessment was established.

In this case, NSS is only used as a trip wire for a Command Assessment. It wasn't an NSS below 30 that attrited the 3 students. It was because, in the opinion of the command, they were just barely meeting MIF in all areas and that isn't good enough. Unfortunately, the students were done a diservice by the IPs who wrote only good comments on their grade sheets. Or the command didn't understand that the low NSS didn't necessarily mean substandard performance. If that was the case, then shame on the Navy. Besides the blow to the students, it costs the Navy way to much to recruit and train through Primary and then toss aside aviators simply because they had a low ranking. Or, perhaps the debriefs and grade sheets did say it all but the students figured that since they passed each flight that was good enough.

I doubt that NSS, or a version of it, will ever go away. Why? Because the Navy needs a statistically reliable way to objectively rank students. Back when we got aboves and belows, NSS did EXACTLY the same thing it does now. It just seemed different because everyone knew how many net aboves you needed to clear a 35 NSS. At least we thought we did. There were many cases when a command experienced a spiraling NSS. This happened when IPs would identify a student or students just below the cutoff and then hand out a couple more aboves to clear the 35 NSS hurdle. The following month the minimum number of net aboves would creep up by one or two and the cycle would continue.

NSS isn't evil. Its what we try to do with it that makes it bad. Kind of like taquilla.
 

scoober78

(HCDAW)
pilot
Contributor
I doubt that NSS, or a version of it, will ever go away. Why? Because the Navy needs a statistically reliable way to objectively rank students.
So why use an unneccesarily complicated system like NSS...use raw score. How is a ratio of your performance to MIF anything other than objective and statistically reliable. You still haven't explained the need for further contrivances.
 

SlickAg

Registered User
pilot
So why use an unneccesarily complicated system like NSS...use raw score. How is a ratio of your performance to MIF anything other than objective and statistically reliable. You still haven't explained the need for further contrivances.
Because then they can't take grading trends into effect. Some squadrons (cough cough 28) grade easier than others.
 

Heloanjin

Active Member
pilot
Very good question. So many issues with this that just come and go. From my perspective the biggest reason is jet selection. The general belief is jet students should come only out of the top 50%.

Despite the fact that MPTS uses performance standards, there is always the possibility of grade inflation. So, a raw score good for jets today may not be good for jets tomorrow, while a 50 NSS is always average.

So, the best way to identify the top 50% is by a T-score (NSS).

And, despite what the long thread here indicates, NSS isn't really convoluted or complicated. It is, however, poorly understood by too many.
 

e6bflyer

Used to Care
pilot
Like Gator said, CNATRA himself has said that NSS is going away once everyone is using MPTS and all the training commands have switched to TIMS. It doesn't make sense to say that a guy is good enough to pass every flight but not good enough to go on to advanced. The reason that we give students a projected NSS is to 1. Let guys know ABOUT how they are doing, a big complaint on student critiques in the past. 2. Identify the weak performers who are borderline 35 NSS guys so that we can try to help them out with SMS and let them know that they are in danger of attriting instead of completing them and saying "hey, you have a board tomorrow and you may not go on".
The system sucks, everyone in the training command including CNATRA knows it sucks, it is changing in the near (yeah, right!) future.
 

Cavt

Living the dream
pilot
What kind of NSS/ratios are people coming out of primary with recently? Anyone?
 

Chubby

Active Member
Somewhere between 35 and 80 ... ? Not to jump on your case but what's so hard here people, it doesn't change, it's a bell curve. If you're a rock star compared to your peers you will have a rock star NSS and vice versa. Don't waste the brain matter, the worst grades I ever got in flight school were when I was worried about grades. Go out, work your ass off and have fun and you'll do fine.

/rant
 

Cavt

Living the dream
pilot
I mean, yeah, "dont worry about your NSS", but doesnt that seem a little too extreme? Shouldn't you, as the student, be given something, anything to know how you are doing before the very end (other than your ATS at the end of a flight). People can say, "work as hard as you can and you will get what you get" till the cows come home, but imagine going through all of high school not knowing if you had the grades to get into Harvard or the grades to go to a crappy college. Then imagine going all through college not know if you were strong enough to get a top job in the sector of your choice, or go to the grad school of your choice. In the end, everyone says, dont worry about your grades, but the fact of the matter is it is a broken system, and not allowing people to know how they are progressing is in my mind just wrong. I don't think we need a running tally every flight of how we are doing, but me, I would like to know if going into Forms, or RI's where I am sitting, and especially going into selection day, am I going to even come close to jets.

On a seperate note, and I didn't really see this anywhere, but why does the ratio shift? Isn't that the whole point of a bell curve that it averages out no matter what? So shouldnt a ratio of 1 always give you a 50? What is the purpose of shifting it from week to week?
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
People can say, "work as hard as you can and you will get what you get" till the cows come home, but imagine going through all of high school not knowing if you had the grades to get into Harvard or the grades to go to a crappy college. Then imagine going all through college not know if you were strong enough to get a top job in the sector of your choice, or go to the grad school of your choice. In the end, everyone says, dont worry about your grades, but the fact of the matter is it is a broken system, and not allowing people to know how they are progressing is in my mind just wrong. I don't think we need a running tally every flight of how we are doing, but me, I would like to know if going into Forms, or RI's where I am sitting, and especially going into selection day, am I going to even come close to jets.

So you're about to go into RIs. You have a 79 NSS. What does that do for you? Now you have a 39. What changes? How does this knowledge effect your day? Both are passing, both require no action from the squadron. Other than giving you a warm fuzzy (and I'm not saying it isn't "nice" to know), what does this info do for you?

If you want Jets, put jets down as your first choice. Why worry about what you have if it's something you want. The worse case is you don't get it. No harm, you're still moving along to the next level.

I mean, yeah, "dont worry about your NSS", but doesnt that seem a little too extreme? Shouldn't you, as the student, be given something, anything to know how you are doing before the very end (other than your ATS at the end of a flight).
Why is the ATS not sufficient? You're either doing what's required, or you're not. The ATS shows that, and to a much better degree, the debriefs tell you this (along w/ the ATF). Again, I'm not saying it isn't nice to know, but unless you're sucking (and they'll tell you that via a supplemental gradesheet), you're "on track," anything more is a total SWAG at what your score will be.

As for why things change week to week, they adjust for Santa Claus and Scrooges from squadron to squadron so everyone starts on a level playing field. Beyond that, my understanding of statistics is limited, at best.
 

Cavt

Living the dream
pilot
I think the ATS is not sufficient because you can get MIF, be meeting the standards, and not pass. And because the ratio slides from week to week, one week barely above MIF could be fine, and another week it could be failing. So I can look at my ATS and say yeah I was 4 above 9 above or whatever, and I am meeting standards, but it tells me little about how those standards are related to my final ratio. And if I understand it correctly, the old Down/Up/Above system was easier for figuring out where you were going to come out in the end. I.E. SNA A has 20 above and no downs and he selected jets, so you at a minimum knew what it took to select jets. Not what the minimums were, just a relative idea, today we don't have the luxury.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I think the ATS is not sufficient because you can get MIF, be meeting the standards, and not pass. And because the ratio slides from week to week, one week barely above MIF could be fine, and another week it could be failing. So I can look at my ATS and say yeah I was 4 above 9 above or whatever, and I am meeting standards, but it tells me little about how those standards are related to my final ratio.
I agree that the "meeting MIF" problem exists. So in that sense, it sucks. But since you know meeting MIF means failure, look back at your ATSs and look at how quick you meet and/or exceed MIF. That will be the gauge. You still haven't answered how knowing if you have a 79 or a 39 makes the difference. Like I said, if you're just meeting MIF and therefore "failing," STUCON will tell you.
 

Cavt

Living the dream
pilot
Your totally right Sir, and the reason I haven't answered if knowing you have a 79 or a 39 makes a difference is because I think it doesn't further my point (selectively offering up supporting facts). I'm saying that there has to be a better way to do it. The fact of the matter is, not all of us are rock stars and know we will have a 70 NSS, some of us are average, but we still want jets, and for that reason it is harrowing to think you are sitting on the edge or below it, or wherever and not know...
 

jpm269

Registered User
pilot
There is a point to know whether you have a 39 or a 79. Does knowing this change how hard you study, no, at least it shouldn't. Regardless of where you stack up in the system, I believe that everyone will continue to work hard to reach their dreams.
Now, IMHO, knowing where you stack up will help dictate whether or not you need to change your study habits. If you are at the low end, maybe its time to re-evaluate how you are studying. It could be time to ditch the idea that you can do it yourself and seek a group to study with. It could even be the case where you need to ditch your current group and seek another.
Why do we complete ORM worksheets? It's not so that we can be more or less diligent when it comes to safety but so that we can evaluate ourselves, mission, etc. and implement controls to reach the desired outcome the safest way possible.
 
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