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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Operating Manual for Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions

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Policies and Instructions

General Policies:
E. Application of Qualification Standards

  1. Selecting the Appropriate Qualification Standard
  2. Implementing New or Revised Standards
  3. Experience Requirements
  4. Educational and Training Provisions or Requirements
  5. Crediting Combinations of Education and Experience
  6. Using Selective Factors
  7. Using Quality Ranking Factors
  8. Special Inservice Placement Provisions
  9. Other Requirements or Provisions
  10. Supervisory Positions

7. Using Quality Ranking Factors

Agencies can request quality ranking factors to help determine which of the basically qualified applicants are likely to be better qualified for a position. Quality ranking factors are KSA's that could be expected to enhance significantly performance in a position, but, unlike selective factors, are not essential for satisfactory performance. (For example, skill in public speaking might be used as a quality ranking factor for a position in an organization where policy changes are communicated to the public in several ways, and oral communication is one of the ways.) Applicants who possess the quality ranking factors can be ranked above those who do not, but no one can be rated ineligible solely for failure to possess a quality ranking factor.

The KSA's used as quality ranking factors may have been obtained through either experience or education. Therefore, relevant academic courses can provide evidence of possession of quality ranking factors even for occupations where their use as selective factors is prohibited by title 5 U.S.C. 3308. This would be particularly true at entry grade levels where many applicants may not possess experience that demonstrated the applicable KSA's. For example, a budget analyst position may involve duties such as determining whether the budget requests of several divisions in an agency are justified based on economic forecasts. While no particular courses are required for basic eligibility as a budget analyst, for applicants who meet the minimum qualification requirements on the basis of education, courses such as business administration, finance, or economics might reasonably be expected to enhance performance in the position.