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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessment and evaluation practices in a pediatric dentistry clinical education setting Wong, Tracy Jean


In clinical teaching and learning settings, there is a need for assessment and evaluation practices to be focused on students' overall performance during patient care, not just technical skills in Dentistry. Competency-based education is intended to provide the framework for dental education at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in terms of curriculum content and assessment of student learning outcomes. Clinical instruction in disciplines such as Pediatric Dentistry depends on clinical practitioner-instructors who have potential to make important contributions to student development. Although they bring strengths as disciplinary experts immersed in the realities of dental practice, most are not well versed in research-based instructional strategies to engage students in critical thinking and self-directed learning for the rigours of independent practice. In a qualitative study, data were collected by the author (resident Program Coordinator of the UBC Children's Dental Program) through interviews, observation in teaching clinics, and review of documentation to inform the scope and nature of assessment and evaluation practices in the clinical educational settings of Pediatric Dentistry at UBC. Interview data also provided reflections about how clinical practitioner-instructors understand their practice. Data collected were analyzed using principles of grounded theory and merged into themes drawn from the conceptual framework of Hubball and Burt (2004) as well as the use of the UBC Faculty of Dentistry patient care performance criteria and standards for student learning. Assessment and evaluation practices in clinical settings typically ranged from predominantly directive methods (e.g. traditional teacher-driven and skills-based) that clinical practitioner-instructors experienced themselves as students, to occasional learning-centred methods (e.g. instructor questioning, self-analysis, and reflection) supported by current literature. While clinical practitioner-instructors recognized the importance of student confidence and safety of patient care, most were unfamiliar with authentic methods of assessment and evaluation for competency-based dental education. Further, there was little reflection or collaboration within the community of practitioners about the effectiveness of assessment methods. These results and a research-informed approach will guide planning of faculty development initiatives (e.g., learning communities focused on learning-centred assessment and evaluation strategies) for clinical practitioner-instructors.

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