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    Frequently Asked Questions::Why don't the regulations use the labels "Pass" and "Fail" more explicitly?

    Why don't the regulations use the labels "Pass" and "Fail" more explicitly?

    Because the term "unacceptable performance" is defined in statute and has specific statutory authorizations associated with it (i.e., to take performance-based actions), the regulations implementing those statutes use Unacceptable, rather than Fail:

    • to describe performance that fails to meet the established performance standard for a critical element, and
    • for a Level 1 rating of record.

    Likewise, because of these statutory and regulatory references, agencies are expected to use Unacceptable. However, programs that insist on using the term "Fail" may do so provided the following conditions are met:

    1. The program description includes a clear statement of equivalency to establish that its use of the term "Fail" has the meaning and effect of Unacceptable as used in law and regulation.
    2. All employees covered by the program receive clear information concerning the performance standard(s) that must be met, that failure to meet would lead to appraisal and/or rating as "Fail", and the possible consequences of that determination.

    Technically, there's no reason why the term "Pass" cannot be used to describe performance that is not unacceptable.

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