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Proficiency Testing and Procedure Validation for FDEs

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2002, $296,226)


This project focuses on two key areas in the practice of forensic document examiners(FDES)that can be strengthened through validation and proof of proficiency. These are:(l) the use of a (9- or 7-or 5-point)graded conclusion scale to render opinions about handwritten questioned docuemnts; and (2) the efect of peer-review and and consulation on the quality of opinions expressed by FDEs. The awardees will administer larg-scale tests to FDES and to laypersons under tightly controlled conditions that will seve to close the knowlede gaps in these two areas. The expected results are: (1) determination of the number and distribution of categories("points") that should be used in order to present meaningful opinions in the area of handwriting comparison; this study will either validate the existing 9- point ASTM standard E1658 or lead to a new standard; and (2) determination of whether (and to what extent)consultation and "second opinion" have a beneficial and statistically significant effect on the quality and reliability of conclusions developed by FDEs in handwriting tasks; this effort will affect standard FDE operating procedures, which are inconsistent at present with respect to consultation and peer-review.

Date Created: September 29, 2002