Proficiency Tests to Estimate Error Rates in the Forensic Sciences
Jonathan J. Koehler
Northwestern University - School of Law
September 19, 2010
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 11-17
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: forensic reporting
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K49
Date posted: February 8, 2011
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