A text analysis of the Marine Corps fitness report
Rigaut, Philipp E. D.
MetadataShow full item record
The Marine Corps loses about half of its nearly two thousand officers at the end of their initial contracts for various reasons. In an effort to control talent retention, the Marine Corps is examining if the appropriate evaluation structure is in place to identify the top performers. This study is an analysis of textual information contained in fitness reports to determine the extent to which it informs promotion boards of the quality of a Marine officer. We examine 71,212 observed fitness reports from the 1996, 1997, 2006, and 2007 officer cohorts, which we observe from 2007 to 2016. We use text statistics, readability indicators, natural language processing, and a variety of statistical machine learning algorithms to predict the top and bottom performers. We find that fitness reports for the best-performing officers are well written, use simple words in longer sentences, and comment on future command opportunities. Remarks on performance, potential, billet assignment, and education do not contribute predictive power. The fitness report contributors often disagree and informative power is lost when the assigned marks do not conform to issued guidance. In isolation, the comment sections are inconclusive for predicting an officer's performance tier. We attain a correct classification rate of 67% when using an optimized ensemble of prediction models. We recommend that the Marine Corps provide word-picture guidance to distinguish talented Marines and promote conformity in issuing quantitative assessments of performance.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Collins, Thomas N. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 1991);Empirical tests have demonstrated a direct correlation between physical fitness and performance during sustained military operations. Physical is probably the single most important factor for the individual Marine. ...
Analysis of the pull-up requirement in the U.S. Marine Corps physical fitness test for female Marines Ryan, Sherel L. (Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School, 2014);The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) dates back to the 1950s. In its current state, it is said to evaluate all Marines' general fitness levels in the areas of strength, endurance, and mobility. In November 2012, ...
An analysis of performance at the basic school as a predictor of officer performance in the operating forces Hurndon, Nicholas A.; Wiler, Darby (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2008);The purpose of this thesis is to identify and assess factors that predict the performance of junior officers in the operating forces of the U.S. Marine Corps. In this analysis, fitness report scores are used as indicators ...