The process of evaluating a probationary officer's performance and applying the evaluation to the graphic rating scale consists of four steps:
1. OBSERVE BEHAVIOR: only tasks actually performed by the probationary officer during the time frame of the report and observed by the FTO may be evaluated.
2. DETERMINE RATING CATEGORY: based on the behavior observed, the FTO determines which categories should be evaluated. (A review of the Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs) will indicate which types of performances would be appropriate to which categories). Normally, a single police incident will have some effect on performance ratings given in several categories. For example, a single routine traffic stop would have a bearing on the performance ratings given in "Knowledge of Traffic Law", "Routine Forms, Accuracy, Completeness", "Field Performance: Non-Stress Conditions", "Officer Safety: General", and "Relationships with Citizens". Depending on the circumstances of the stop, several more categories could be added to the evaluation of the same traffic stop.
3. COMPARE OBSERVED BEHAVIOR TO THE STANDARDIZED EVALUATION GUIDELINES: after the appropriate rating categories have been determined, the performance observed is compared to the anchor point examples provided in the standard evaluation guidelines. The determination is then made as to which anchor point example is most similar to the performance observed.
4. ASSIGN PERFORMANCE RATING: If the FTO finds the performance which was observed matches the examples identified by the guidelines (step three above) then the anchor point performance rating is assigned. However, if the FTO feels that the observed performance does not quite match the most similar anchor point, then the next most appropriate scale value would be assigned. For example, if the probationary officer's appearance matches the examples provided in the guidelines under minimally acceptable, the probationary officer would be assigned a scale value of "4". If, however, the FTO feels that the probationary officer's appearance is most similar to the minimally acceptable examples, but for various reasons is actually a little better than the examples, then the FTO would assign a scale value of "5". Likewise, if the probationary officer's appearance was most similar to the superior examples, except for some factors, then a scale value of "6" would be assigned. The same rational would be applied in assigning performance ratings of "2" and "3".
The Graphic Rating Scale and Anchor Points
In order to assign a value to a particular type of performance demonstrated by a probationary officer, the Field Training And Evaluation Program uses the graphic or Likert rating scale. The scale consists of a series of consecutive numbers beginning with the number "1" and ends with the number "7". The lower end of the scale "1" represents the lowest quality of work and the highest end of the scale "7" represents the highest quality of work. The numbers 2,3,5, and 6 represent the varying degrees of quality between extremes.
Defining certain levels on the scale increases the reliability of the graphic rating scale. When a narrative definition is attached to a number in the scale, the number becomes an "anchor point". Anchor points in the FTEP are "1", "4" and "7". These numbers correspond to the terms UNACCEPTABLE, MINIMALLY ACCEPTABLE and SUPERIOR as defined by the Tampa Police Department FTEP Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs).
Not all scale values are identified and defined. This allows for a certain amount of discretion by utilizing the scale values between the anchor point, 2,3,5 and 6. Discretionary ratings are always referred to in relation to the nearest anchor point.
A. a scale value of "2" would be a little better than the unacceptable anchor point B. a scale value of "3" would be a little less than the minimally acceptable anchor point C. a scale value of "5" would be a little better than the minimally acceptable anchor point D. a scale value of "6" would be a little less than the superior anchor point
Graphic Rating Scale
The establishment of anchor points helps to reduce individual perception problems, which may occur when using a graphic rating scale. By identifying anchor points, anyone who has reason to complete or review an evaluation will know that an evaluation rating between "1" and "3" indicates a degree of unacceptability and an evaluation rating between "4" and "7" indicates a degree of acceptability.
Anchor points do little to reduce perception problems, which surface when applying the graphic rating scale to different rating categories. It is the FTO's responsibility to determine unacceptable, minimally acceptable and superior performance of the probationary officer. It is necessary for the reliability of the FTEP to keep the rating determination uniform from FTO to FTO. Therefore, examples of the types of performance associated with the anchor points of each evaluation category were developed and are known as Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs).
The SEGs are arranged by category. Each category contains a description of the types of performance, which are to be evaluated in that category. In applying the SEGs, the FTO observes a probationary officer's performance and then compares the observed performance to the examples provided in the SEGs. Based on the FTO's training and experience, he/she determines which examples in the SEGs are most similar to the observed performance. The utilization of the Standard Evaluation Guidelines is the most important factor in insuring validity of FTO evaluations and maintaining FTEP reliability.