No no, i mean things like randomly doing patrol and exploration missions.
For instance. At the moment i am Lt Cmdr 3. If i head to the Khazan Cluster (Or Khazan Nebula?) in Alpha-Centauri and try to do one "unknown system" patrol mission the SP given for that mission will be lower.
This is in place to prevent you from going to Cardassian sectors as a Lieutenant 1 and doing the scan-only missions for massive Captain level SP.
If you try to do one exploration mission in Hromi cluster as a Lt 5 you will get 39 SP. But if you try as a LT 9 you will get 103 SP.