Published: Jan 1989
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Proficiency testing is an integral part of the NVLAP laboratory accreditation process. Demonstration of appropriate facilities, equipment, personnel, etc. is essential, but may not be sufficient for the evaluation of laboratory competence. Inter- and intralaboratory test data using special proficiency testing samples provide the accrediting authority with a way to determine the operational competence of the laboratory.
For many test methods, results from proficiency testing are good indicators of a laboratory's testing capability. Information obtained from proficiency testing helps to identify and lead to solutions to problems in a laboratory. If problems with the test method are suspected, information can be provided to the appropriate standards-writing bodies to use as a basis for improving the method.
Each field of testing and each specific test method within a field has unique proficiency testing requirements. Proficiency testing data should be analyzed by the accreditor in confidence and summary reports of the results sent to the participants.
accreditation, interlaboratory testing, laboratory, laboratory evaluation, laboratory performance, NVLAP, proficiency testing, testing
NVLAP project leader, National Bureau of StandardsNational Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD