Introduction: In dental programs, students have traditionally transitioned from the second year to the third year upon completion of their second year requirements. With the planned conversion of national dental boards to a single cumulative and comprehensive test of knowledge, and licensure examinations incorporating increasingly rigorous comprehensive assessments, dental schools must engage students in cumulative and comprehensive testing. These factors led the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine - Arizona to develop a comprehensive and rigorous practical assessment for second-year dental students. Methods: The students complete a practical examination (as part of a more comprehensive assessing method), taking place over 4 days, not only to assess hand skills and time management, but also to evaluate how independently the students can work. In this examination the students must determine their own sequence of procedures, and demonstrate time management. The students must plan their procedures in order to complete them efficiently in the assigned time. Results: Over the past 4 years, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine - Arizona has been successfully using these assessments to evaluate the students’ progression and their readiness to advance to patient care. Each year we have a failure rate between 5-10% on the examination. These students are required to complete a two-week remediation course. From our experience, these students eventually do very well in patient care due to the intensive one-on-one instruction and repetition experienced during this remediation process. Discussion: The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the progression of dental students and their readiness to advance to patient care in a comprehensive simulated licensure examination environment at the end of the second curricular year. This examination allows the faculty and administration to identify students who need additional training before beginning patient care. The examination requires a considerable time commitment of the faculty; time must also be scheduled in the curriculum for the 4 days of the examination. In addition, a time frame of 4 hours is needed to familiarize the students with the guidelines and protocols.
- Explain the steps required to conduct the examination.
- Familiarize themselves with the guidelines of the examination.
- Describe the procedures that can be required with this type of examination.
- Articulate the schedule and time commitment required for the examination.
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