Abstract Optical reflectance of vitrinite is one of the fundamental physical properties that have been used for the study of coal and carbonaceous materials. Organic matter in coals and carbonaceous matter consists mainly of aromatic lamellae, whose dimensions and spatial orientation define its internal structure. Various reflectance parameters describe well the average degree of order of the molecular structure of organic matter. Moreover, reflectance parameters are numerical values which characterize the samples unambiguously, facilitating the comparison of the optical properties of different carbonaceous materials as well as comparison between optical parameters and other physical or chemical factors. The focus of this study is the evaluation of the precision and bias of reflectance measurements (Rmax and Rmin) performed by various analysts in different laboratories in order to check the applicability of reflectance parameters to the estimation of the structural order of coals and carbonaceous materials. Additionally, it was desirable to compare reflectance parameters with other parameters obtained by different analytical methods able to provide structural information. The consistency and repeatability of the reflectance measurements obtained by different participants turned out to be such as to enable the drawing of similar conclusions regarding the structural transformation of anthracite during heating. Good correlations were found between the reflectance parameters studied and structural factors obtained by comparative methods. The reflectance parameters examined proved to be very sensitive to any changes of the structural order of coals and carbonaceous materials and seem to be a perfect complement to structural studies made by X-ray diffraction or Raman spectroscopy.