The ability to identify active compounds (³hits²) from large chemical libraries accurately and rapidly has been the ultimate goal in developing high-throughput screening (HTS) assays. The ability to identify hits from a particular HTS assay depends largely on the suitability or quality of the assay used in the screening. The criteria or parameters for evaluating the ³suitability² of an HTS assay for hit identification are not well defined and hence it still remains difficult to compare the quality of assays directly. In this report, a screening window coefficient, called ³Z-factor,² is defined. This coefficient is reflective of both the assay signal dynamic range and the data variation associated with the signal measurements, and therefore is suitable for assay quality assessment. The Z-factor is a dimensionless, simple statistical characteristic for each HTS assay. The Z-factor provides a useful tool for comparison and evaluation of the quality of assays, and can be utilized in assay optimization and validation.