ST2AR offers skill-based testing for a fee. Initial testing has focused on FDE tasks (e.g., examination and comparison of signatures and non-destructive differentiation of black ink ballpoint pens). Future testing will continue to address these and other tasks (e.g., hand printing, numerals, printing process, etc). Data collected through the testing process may be utilized by the organization for the purpose of academic research and publication. Upon request, the organization may provide participants with a ‘Skill Profile Certificate’ similar to those previously provided by the Forensic Expertise Profiling Laboratory (LaTrobe University). Data pertaining to individual test takers’ performance will be considered as “confidential” material with access limited to to ST2AR Executive Council (EC) members directly involved in the design and/or administration of the testing program.
ST2AR will not disclose performance data relating to an individuals’ personal results without written authorization from the participant unless required to do so by law. The organization reserves the right to publish anonymous test data pertaining to the group of test participants and/or sub-groups of test participants provided the data released does not bear any identification data (e.g., name of participant, place of employment or contact information).
Testing opportunities may be offered in conjunction with training events.
More On Testing
ST2AR recognizes and promotes the importance of the rights of forensic scientists with respect to validation testing.
The skill-task assessment (STA) products developed and distributed by ST2AR include blind tests consisting of a series of practical problems based on typical forensic tasks. Initial tests are designed for FDEs and focus on tasks typically encountered by FDEs in normal casework. Participation in this style of testing is strictly voluntary.
Participants retain the right to choose whether to return their answers for scoring purposes or await the release of the “known” answers in order to self-evaluate their performance. Participants opting to return their answers for scoring are eligible to receive a “Skill Profile Certificate” issued by ST2AR to present to the courts or other interested parties.
The STA products provided by ST2AR may be used as an educational or training tool to accurately assess the forensic scientist’s skills regarding a specific task. Furthermore, these tests may be used as a means to collect data that can be used to provide an estimation of an error rate for an examiner regarding a specific task (e.g. analysis of disguised or simulated signatures).
ST2AR ’s long term goals include developing, or assisting in the development of, non-FDE skill-based tests for other forensic disciplines (e.g., latent prints, firearms, etc.).
ST2AR offers skill-based testing for a fee.
Prior to release of any STA, pre-distribution testing will be conducted by ST2AR as a quality assurance measure to help prevent the release of defective tests and to ensure that the quality of the tests meet expected standards with regards to test design, test materials, sample labeling, and packaging. Pre-distribution testing will be conducted by un-paid volunteers who are certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, and/or work in an ASCLD/LAB accredited laboratory.
Current Skill-Task Assessments
|Coming Soon - Signature examination task |
Previous Skill-Task Assessments
Review results from previous Skill-Task Assessments.
Benefits of Participation in Skill-Task Testing
Unlike real laboratory casework, there is a true known answer for each questioned specimen. Once the known answers are released, participants can re-evaluate the decision making process used to arrive at all correct, inconclusive and misleading (errors) opinions. In this way, participants are afforded opportunities to learn from their mistakes or improve upon overly conservative opinions. The process of re-evaluating the opinions reached against a true known answer provides the participant with an opportunity to “calibrate” their decision making process and thresholds.
At the conclusion of each STA, all returned Answer Sheets are tabulated and the anonymous performance data is released to all participants in the form of a Post-Test Information Package (PTIP). The data contained in the PTIP provides a basis for each participant to compare their results against the results of other participants and assess their skill relative to this group of participants.
Empirical data regarding reliability
The anonymous test data obtained from returned answer sheets may be presented and or published by ST2AR. This empirical data will further forensic science as it will provide a means to assess the validity and/or reliability of the task being assessed. This data can also be used as a means to assess the known and/or potential error rates of individual participants for a given task (e.g., examination of questioned and known signatures for the purpose of determining authorship).
The continuing education and professional development of the forensic scientist is never complete as there is always something new to learn. Participation in Skill Task Assessments provides an excellent opportunity for forensic scientists of all experience levels to learn something new. For laboratories with trainees or those that are likely to have trainees in the future, these materials can also serve as an invaluable resource to assist in the training and development of future forensic scientists.
Who Should Participate?
Forensic Document Examiners (FDEs) with any level of experience and FDE trainees.
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