Fall E-4 advancement exams are off for all active duty, full-time support and Selected Reserve sailors due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Navy.

In lieu of the test, the service said eligible E-3 sailors will be evaluated using a Final Multiple Score rank-order method that doesn’t take into account the exams.

The Navy implemented the same method when it also canceled E-4 advancement exams for the spring, and announced it would grade sailors based on their Performance Mark Average, the accrual of awards, points from service in paygrade, pass-not-advance points, and education.

The method draws heavily on the Performance Mark Average category, which totals nearly 75 percent of a sailor’s score.

“The Navy’s advancement team, in coordination with fleet leadership, has developed policy in this naval administrative message to ensure the safety of our Sailors during the COVID-19 outbreak, while still ensuring that all the Sailors we advance have the proficiency, expertise and demonstrated capability to lead at the next level,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John B. Nowell Jr. said in a recent Navy news release.

He added that the system preserves the “the high standards and culture of learning that drive our enlisted advancement system.”

In the case of active-duty and full-time support sailors, commands have until Sept. 25 to validate, complete and finalize all E-4 Enlisted Advancement Worksheets in the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System. The deadline is Sept. 30 for SELRES sailors.

Despite the cancellation, exams for E-4 SELRES in the Prior Service Reenlistment Eligibility–Reserve program have not been nixed to guarantee sailors make their rate permanent.

Additionally, the Navy said September’s E-5 and E-6 exams will continue on a “staggered schedule” that can accommodate proper social distancing precautions.

“These testing windows will allow for smaller groups of test takers to ensure that adequate social distancing can be maintained between testers at testing facilities,” a Navy Administrative message said.

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