International Quality Assurance Exchange Program Participant Guide
Section 3 - Reporting Data
Section 3.1 – Sample Analysis
All testing must be performed in the participant's laboratory facilities. Tests should be performed by participants to the best of their abilities in accordance with the specified test method. Strict adherence to the specified test method is essential and any modification must be reported. If for some reason the participant chooses not to follow a specified test method, but modifies or performs the test by another method, then they may still report the result but must also report the fact that they departed from the specified test method and give details of their modification. These results will be recorded in the final reports for comparison purposes but will not be included in the calculation of statistical data.
Section 3.2 – Collusion and Falsification of Results
Although proficiency testing schemes are intended primarily to help participants improve their analytical performance, there may be a tendency among some participants to provide a falsely optimistic impression of their capabilities. For example, collusion may take place between laboratories, so that truly independent data are not submitted. Laboratories may also give a false impression of their performance if they routinely carry out single analyses, but report the mean of replicate determinations on the proficiency test items or conduct additional replicates to those specified for a particular scheme. Collusion is contrary to professional scientific conduct and serves only to nullify the benefits of proficiency testing to customers. It is the responsibility of the participating laboratories to avoid it if the above falsifications occur.
Section 3.3 – Care in Reporting
Erroneous results are reported from time to time and these cause difficulty in preparing correct statistical data in the Exchange summaries. Some of these errors may be: typographical, incorrect thermometer readings, incorrect instrument readings, errors of calculation, or interchange of data and samples. Members should check their reports carefully to keep mistakes of this nature to a minimum. Laboratories are requested to pay special attention to the units in which results are reported. Suspect results or results reported in the wrong units will be identified in the final detailed report and will not be included in the statistical data. However, this data will be included in the annual data review.
Section 3.4 – Reporting Dates
Laboratory test data must be entered and submitted on the IQAEP website by the close date provided with each sample shipment. Data not submitted by the end of day on the close date will not be included in the sample summary report.