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40px-Terminal.png This article, SPARTAN-III Qualification Achievement Tiers, was written by Sev40. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
40px-Writer_share.png This article, SPARTAN-III Qualification Achievement Tiers, was written by Sev40, but may be used freely by other users even without the author's explicit permission.

The SPARTAN-III Qualification Achievement Tiers (QAT) was a competency-based grading system used in the SPARTAN-III Program. Derived from the tertiary education system used within trade schools and universities, the QAT was designed to give each trainee a single categorisation code that denoted their average skill level, which informed the administration personnel what unit they could be assigned to. This information was directly affected by the units of competency, or knowledge topics, they achieved, divided between mandatory and voluntary units. It was more-or-less permanent when bestowed at their graduation, as additional qualifications were instead recognised via a more thorough alternative used by the rest of the UNSC Armed Forces.

It must be stressed that the QAT was not affected by what specialisations a given trainee chose; all SPARTAN-IIIs were expected to take on at least one unit of specialist training, such as marksmanship, scout, and assault, with two being considered the norm. These voluntary topics were all judged equally, regardless of difficulty. Instead, what separated a given SPARTAN-III from each tier was the amount of extra topics they completed above the baseline: Category-2s always achieved higher marks and thus learned more skills than even the most elite Category-1. The only exception for this were the Category-3s, as they were not required to follow the standard curriculum for training.

The QAT was established - and used - as early as Alpha Company's training, where Commandant Kurt Ambrose requested a simplified monitoring system to easily identify promising individuals. This allowed his staff to sift through a vastly smaller pool, which could then be rated by other means to guarantee that only the most capable SPARTAN-IIIs were removed from the company. This unfortunately created a waiting list which was slow to clear, and this led to many highly-skilled operatives losing their lives during the twin suicide missions of PROMETHEUS and TORPEDO. The QAT was used as late as 2557, where the child-soldiers of Delta Company were still given competency codes to determine which Spartans could be retained and which ones could be exchanged away for additional resources.

List of Tiers

  • Category Zero (Washout): Any trainee designated as a Cat-0 has not achieved the required skills necessary to function as a soldier in the field, which may include failing a single non-negotiable subject they were expected to learn. Cat-0s were either forbidden from being augmented or failed the procedures, and were given less-desirable postings, such as drill instructors and mission handlers. All washouts who rejected the procedures were also given the Cat-0 rating.
  • Category One (Standard): The baseline for any serving SPARTAN-III supersoldier, Cat-1s were granted to any individual who, although they passed every required subject and topic they were expected to learn, did not prove capable enough to adequately distinguish themselves from their peers. All Cat-1 Spartans served in the mainline companies at some point.
  • Category Two (Elite Outliers): The incredibly-harsh training regime of the SPARTAN-III program made it difficult for many trainees to truly rise above the rank-and-file. Cat-2 operators were fully certified in all areas that Cat-1s were, but they had achieved several unique skills and certifications that very few others in their unit also held. Individuals in this grade were occasionally ejected from the main companies by LCDR Ambrose to serve in MJOLNIR-equipped teams to better support the war effort. Company Leaders and subunit commanders were also considered Cat-2 servicemen.
  • Category Three (Other): An anomalous ranking, Cat-3 Spartans were those that were for whatever reason exempt from the common education curriculum that all their other peers must take. They were often withdrawn from their company mid-way through training, as they had succeeded in specific tests to determine this status. All Headhunters were Cat-3 personnel.
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