American Dental Association Survey Highlights Critical Thinking

Dentist working on a child's teeth
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In a survey of advanced dental education program directors conducted by the American Dental Association (Dr. Eugene Anderson, Center for Educational Policy and Research) critical thinking was rated as one of the factors most desirable in program applicants and dental education students. The ability to test students for their ability to think logically and use higher level reasoning was rated as highly desirable by more than half of the study participants. The  American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation:  Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs report, adopted August, 2010 stated:

“Graduates must be competent in the use of critical thinking and problem-solving, including their use in the comprehensive care of patients, scientific inquiry and research methodology.”

“Dental education programs must conduct regular assessments of students’ learning throughout their educational experiences. Such assessment not only focuses on whether the student has achieved the competencies necessary to advance professionally (summative assessment), but also assists learners in developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values considered important at their stage of learning (formative assessment).”

“To improve curricula, assessment involves a dialogue between and among faculty, students, and administrators that is grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Data from program outcomes, assessment of student learning, and feedback from students and faculty can be used in a process that actively engages both students and faculty.”

Complete survey results are posted on the ADA website.

Insight Assessment’s California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) and our health science specific versions, the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) and the HSRT – AD provide valid and reliable tools to identify students and applicants who have strength in critical thinking, and those students who will have difficulty until deficiencies are remediated. See Tests for Health Sciences Professionals for more information.

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