Evaluating assessment: how do students feel about it?

In a recent study, Dr. Arnaldo Perez brings our DDS curriculum renewal to the forefront.

Jessalyn King, Cheryl Deslaurier - 02 July 2020

Now that the dentistry curriculum is finishing up its first year of delivery, the Curriculum Renewal Committee (CRC) will continue to critically reflect and further develop the curriculum. The School's Educational Research and Scholarship Unit (ERSU) is supporting the work of the CRC and started with analyzing data collected during Phase I about assessment strategies in the dental curriculum. 

Thus came the study, led by Dr. Perez, Dental faculty and student views of didactic and clinical assessment, published in May in the European Journal of Dental Education.

The findings highlight the program’s strengths and limitations and provide recommendations to improve clinical and didactic assessments. Both faculty and students perceived clinical assessments as less appropriate than didactic assessments. Faculty-perceived limitations were mostly related to assessment appropriateness (such as accuracy and comprehensiveness), while student-perceived limitations included other issues (like misalignment with course objectives, and assessment volume, pace, and scheduling). Recognizing the need, as part of the curriculum renewal, to improve assessment processes in the dental program, the CRC recommended a Global Assessment committee be formed that will assist the DDS curriculum committee to evaluate and provide guidance on the assessments used throughout the curriculum.

The study team with Perez also included a conceptual framework of assessment. "Now that we’ve identified the dimensions of assessment, we can develop surveys based on this data to comprehensively and quantitatively evaluate assessments in the new courses." Furthermore, Perez has assembled a team and after winning a scholarship grant, will conduct a scoping review of program evaluations that will further inform the work of the ERSU and the CRC.