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The design and implementation of a proficiency test for assessors of fingermark quality

FIELDHOUSE, Sarah and GWINNETT, Claire (2015) The design and implementation of a proficiency test for assessors of fingermark quality. In: The International Association for Identification Conference, 9th-11th October 2015, Leicester, UK.

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Abstract or description

A variety of objective and subjective approaches are currently used to assess the quality of fingermarks produced during research projects. It is particularly important to consider user competence and/or consistency in assessment with subjective approaches given that projects often include several thousand marks. Intra-institution controls are likely to help manage variations between researchers from the same institution and/or project(s), but are unlikely to manage differences between projects, particularly if
different approaches are used. Establishing consistency in the approach to quality assessment could encourage collaboration, given that data from multiple projects may be combined or compared. In order for effective collaboration, competency of using such approaches should be identified to ensure parity. Proficiency testing (PT) is a popular means of comparing and monitoring the competency of individuals, whilst also assessing the validity of data and conclusions. This project has developed a proficiency testing scheme for the assessment of fingermark quality for researchers using a specific grading system. A large collection of test samples were created controlling variables such as force, fingermark composition and
surface type. An ‘inter-laboratory testing scheme’ design was used for the proficiency test and established fingerprint researchers participated in the project to produce known values for the 6 chosen test samples for round one of the testing scheme, described in this paper. Second year BSc (Hons) Forensic Science and Forensic Investigation student participants from Staffordshire University completed the proficiency test as part of a fingermark practical. The results indicated that generally the student participants involved in this project were not able to demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency of fingermark quality assessment
using this grading system which was attributed to their relative experience in assessing the quality of fingermarks compared to ‘experts’ in fingermark analysis. The results therefore highlighted considerations
for future grading systems, and additional training requirements of users. Future changes to the training approach could increase user knowledge and proficiency levels to the extent that such individuals or other,
more experienced fingermark researchers may effectively contribute to wider collaborative projects.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences > Sciences
Event Title: The International Association for Identification Conference
Event Location: Leicester, UK
Event Dates: 9th-11th October 2015
Depositing User: Claire GWINNETT
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 12:53
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 03:48

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