An Evaluation of Methods for Assessing the Competence of Laboratories Based on Performance in the GeoPT Proficiency Testing Scheme

Potts, Philip J. and Webb, Peter C. (2019). An Evaluation of Methods for Assessing the Competence of Laboratories Based on Performance in the GeoPT Proficiency Testing Scheme. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 43(2) pp. 217–229.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ggr.12252

Abstract

The original certification protocol, published by the International Association of Geoanalysts in 2003, specified that the competence of laboratories selected as competent to contribute certification measurements should be evaluated from their performance in the GeoPT proficiency testing programme. Round 39 of the IAG GeoPT proficiency testing programme provided an opportunity to examine four methods of evaluating laboratory competence based largely on the use of proficiency testing z‐scores as performance indicators. This opportunity arose because two test materials were co‐analysed by participating laboratories in this round: a syenite, SyMP‐1, supplied by the USGS, and an established CRM, the nepheline syenite, CGL‐006. The performance of laboratories was assessed in four ways; in each case, consensus values and their uncertainties as derived from selective datasets of competent laboratories were compared with results derived from the routine GeoPT data assessment, involving all submitted measurements. An overall comparison of results showed no significant statistical differences in either consensus values or uncertainties between these datasets. This conclusion was unexpected and calls into question the widely held assumption that ‘better’ consensus data would be obtained from a subset of laboratories judged to be competent on the basis of proficiency testing indicators.

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