Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



forensic reporting

Subject Categories

Evidence | Law | Law Enforcement and Corrections


A proficiency test is an assessment of the performance of laboratory personnel using samples whose sources are known to the proficiency test administrator but unknown to the examinee. Proficiency tests can help identify reasonable first pass estimates for the rates at which various types of errors occur. It is crucial to obtain error rate estimates because the reliability and probative value of forensic science evidence is inextricably linked to the rates at which examiners make errors. Without such information, legal decision makers have no scientifically meaningful way of thinking about the risk of false identification and false non-identification associated with forensic reports.