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Latent Print Proficiency Testing: An Examination of Test Respondents, Test-Taking Procedures, and Test Characteristics.

Authors
  • Gardner, Brett O1
  • Kelley, Sharon1
  • Pan, Karen D H2
  • 1 Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
  • 2 Department of Statistics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of forensic sciences
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2020
Volume
65
Issue
2
Pages
450–457
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14187
PMID: 31509243
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Proficiency testing is a key component of quality assurance programs within crime laboratories and can help improve laboratory practices. However, current proficiency testing procedures contain significant limitations and can be misinterpreted by examiners and court personnel (Garrett & Mitchell, 2018). To evaluate some of these limitations, we surveyed latent print examiners (n = 198) after they completed a Collaborative Testing Services, Inc. proficiency test. Additionally, we evaluated test performance and used a quality metric algorithm to evaluate the quality of test prints. Results do not suggest that respondents are dissimilar to the broader examiner population, although they may engage in different behaviors when completing tests versus casework. Findings show that proficiency testing contains prints of high quality and is perceived as both relatively easy and representative of casework. The test discriminated between inexperienced and experienced respondents, and verification procedures were largely ineffective in reducing errors. Objective quality metrics may provide a path forward to improving proficiency testing in a measurable manner. © 2019 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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