Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Policy

Executive Summary

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program aims to attract high-performing graduate students into federal service. Given the measured performance of past participants, or Fellows, many Federal agencies use the PMF Program as a cornerstone of their succession planning. Since its inception in 1977, the PMF Program has used a variety of selection mechanisms to identify and assess candidates. The most recent alteration in the PMF Program‟s selection mechanism in 2007 has raised questions of efficiency. While the implementation of a single standardized test has reduced costs and allowed more candidates to be evaluated, it is unknown if this assessment test holds bias and best identifies worthy candidates.

This study relies on an evaluation of PMF Program candidates and finalists from schools of public affairs and colleges of law over the years 1998-2010. The data are analyzed using tests of independence and linear regressions. Findings indicate that the 2007 assessment test implementation has altered previous selection patterns; however, between schools of public affairs and colleges of law, results indicate that this mechanism has removed previous Program bias. The analyses of program characteristics that affect finalist attainment reveal that the number of candidates and previous success within the PMF Program are both positive estimations of finalist attainment. Additionally, for schools of public affairs, NASPAA accreditation was found to have a negative effect on the number of finalists produced. Further analysis of Fellows is recommended to establish the value that academic degree holds on employment performance. Future estimations of the impact of program characteristics may be improved by the inclusion of student quality measures within schools of public affairs and colleges of law.



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