Oct.2008-H Page 4072
DENTAL EDUCATION AND
JOINT COMMISSION ON NATIONAL DENTAL EXAMINATIONS (1 JCNDE)
USE OF PASS/FAIL ON NATIONAL BOARD EXAMS
The following resolution was submitted by the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) and the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) and transmitted on October 2, 2008, by Ms. Carla Qualls, director of leadership entities, AAO.
: The JCNDE recently decided to report only pass/fail on the National Board Exams and to eliminate the ranking of all dental students. This is a substantial departure from past approaches, and eliminates a valuable evaluation tool for dental students, dental schools and the dental profession.
The current system of scoring students is a critical aspect of promoting excellence in both predoctoral and advanced program education. It encourages both individuals (students) and educational institutions to promote higher levels of learning and performance. The elimination of traditional grading systems undermines a principal aspect of the current measurement approach: competition. Without competition, it is obvious that the motivation to be better on the part of all communities will be lessened, if not nonexistent. The end result of this new approach will inevitably be a lower standard of dental care for the public.
In addition, these scores are used by the General Practice Residency and Specialty Programs to evaluate applicants for advanced dental education opportunities. A pass/fail score would mean that these programs may be required to develop an additional test of their own, which would result in an unnecessary burden on the students.
Further inquiry should be undertaken as to the JCNDEs rationale for its action. Are there other ways to address any weaknesses of the current approach, absent wholesale abandonment of a system that has worked well for so long? Are the perceived problems with the current system as pervasive as the JCNDE believes?
Dentistry has always met challenges with positive action and instituted responses methodically. The new approach, as recommended by the JCNDE, is a tremendous departure from that standard it is tantamount to a giving up approach to issues that can otherwise be successfully addressed. The public and other relevant audiences will undoubtedly perceive it as such.
Resolved, that the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) be requested to reconsider pass/fail on National Board Exams; reinstate the dental student rankings and standard scores; and report results to both students and dental schools retain its quantitative nature.
: The Board appreciates the challenges facing advanced education programs in evaluating applicants and acknowledges the beliefs of educators involved in advanced education that the National Board scores have provided an effective evaluation tool for students, dentals schools and the dental profession. While understanding the Joint Commissions rationale for its recent policy decisions, the Board is concerned that no clear alternative assessment tools are currently available to fill the void. The Board believes that more time is needed to allow stakeholders to dialogue about alternative information and assessment models that would meet the needs of advanced education programs and others who have traditionally used National Board results for a variety of purposes beyond licensure. The Board, therefore, recommends the following substitute resolution:
Resolved, that the ADA House of Delegates urge the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) to retain its current system of score reporting and delay implementation of its policy of reporting only pass/fail results from the National Board Exams until such time as alternative assessment models are available to education programs and other stakeholders.
: Vote Yes on the Substitute.