Forensics Program


CTS Proficiency Testing Program Overview

buildingSample Manufacture
Strict protocols are observed for the manufacturing of forensic tests. Before releasing a proficiency test, predistribution review is conducted by qualified experts to assess the test design and samples. This process, which is required of accredited proficiency test providers, helps ensure test validity. If you would like to conduct predistribution testing for any of our proficiency tests, please review Predistribution Testing: Information for Laboratories for more information.

Sample Testing
After predistribution review, sample sets and data sheets are sent to participating laboratories. Data sheets provide a scenario (for most tests), a list of items submitted (sample items), any special instructions, and data sections in which to report the results. Depending on the test, these may include comparisons, identifications, interpretations and conclusions. Participants must return their data sheets to CTS by a specified Data Due Date. All proficiency tests also include an accreditation agency release form.

Manufacturer's Statement
Within three weeks after the test Data Due Date (six weeks for Drug Analysis tests) participants are notified that the Manufacturer's Information statement has been posted on the specific discipline page. This statement contains design specifications for the test samples and/or details of their preparation. The Manufacturer's Information is an interim report and does not necessarily represent the conclusions that should or can be obtained. Definitive interpretation of the results should be deferred until the release of the Summary Report.

Summary Report
The Summary Report containing the results for all participants is posted on the CTS Web site no later than 10 weeks after the test Data Due Date. To ensure confidentiality, each participant is identified in the report only by a "WebCode" number. This code is randomly assigned and changes with every report. Participants are advised to retain strict control over their WebCodes. Summary Reports issued during the previous five years can be found on the specific discipline page or the Report List page. The Summary Reports for Research Tests are not available online; an electronic version is e-mailed to each participating laboratory.

Individual Report
When the Summary Report is posted on the CTS Web site, an Individual Report is e-mailed to each laboratory enrolled in that particular test. This report is an individualized report for each of the participants enrolled in that test. If results were returned to CTS by the Data Due Date, the participant's data will appear on the Individual Report along with a brief summary of consensus information. If no results were returned the Individual Report will state “No Results Reported for this Participant,” but will still contain the brief summary information. Individual Reports are not available for Research Tests. Instead each laboratory receives an electronic copy of the Summary Report.

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Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 650820, Sterling, Virginia, USA 20165-0820
Phone: 1-571-434-1925