What’s it take for a major Federal agency to get a better grade on the semiannual FITARA Scorecard issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee – or backslide from previously hard-won gains?

The answer is complicated – the committee grades over eight different categories that measure IT progress by agencies – but sometimes it only takes a significant move in one category to make a major difference in the total grade, while other times it can be due to a combination of changes.

The latest scorecard issued July 28 by the committee shows that 18 agencies held steady with their overall scores from the previous grading issued in December 2020. Four agencies got good news from the latest report in the form of improved scores, while two others lost ground.

As always, the easiest way to make sense of the committee’s multicolored scorecard is to view MeriTalk’s FITARA Dashboard.

Here’s a rundown on scores for those five agencies, and why they changed:

On the Upside

The General Services Administration (GSA) took the top spot among all 24 CFO Act agencies graded by the committee, with an “A+” grade. Credit goes to rising scores in two categories: GSA’s grade in the cybersecurity category moved up to an “A” from a “B,” and its grade in progress for the transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) communications services contract jumped two full grades, to a “B.” The EIS category on the latest scorecard measures whether an agency has made it to the 50 percent mark in the transition.

The Department of Interior saw its overall score jump by a full letter grade, to “B+.” That’s because while its scores in other categories remained the same, the agency earned a one-letter grade boost in the transparency and risk management category, to a “B.”

Social Security Administration went up a full grade, to “B+,” because of a jump in its EIS transition score to an “A” grade, from a “B” grade on the previous scorecard.  The agency’s overall score also incorporates a jump in its CIO authority enhancements grade, and a decline in its grade for transparency and risk management.

State Department rose to “C,” from the previous mark of “C-,” on the strength of an improved grade – to “C” from “D” – in the EIS transition category.

Falling Grades

While those four agencies were boosting overall FITARA grades, the latest scorecard was not as kind to the Departments of Justice (DoJ) and Veterans Affairs (VA).

DoJ’s overall grade dropped by a full letter grade to a “D-,” as its score in the Data Center Optimization Initiative category plummeted to an “F” grade, from the previous “A” grade.  The agency also saw its grade on CIO authority enhancements retreat to a “C,” from the previous mark of “B.”

Finally, the VA’s overall FITARA grade also fell by a full letter grade, to “C+” because of declines in two categories. The agency’s grade on transparency and risk management dropped by a full letter grade, to “C” while at the same time its cybersecurity grade also declined, to a “D” from the previous mark of “C.”

Read More About
More Topics
John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.