CDCA Advances OSCE Technology

For Immediate Release: February 27, 2018 | Linthicum Heights, MD

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The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) is introducing high-fidelity (alternative) item types to the ADEX Dental Skills Examination (DSE) OSCE. The purpose of introducing these new kinds of questions to further enhance the measurement of diagnosis, treatment planning, and other dental knowledge, clinical judgment, skills of licensure candidates. The CDCA anticipates psychometrically validated AITs will appear beside previously evaluated examination questions beginning in early 2020.

The CDCA’s DSE OSCE is the first and continuously maintained, independent, third-party OSCE in dentistry, first computerized from its paper form in 2001. An OSCE is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, the DSE OSCE is the didactic computerized portion of the five-element American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) dental licensure examination. Pilot questions have been a part of every examination given and are integral to the test development process. A thorough evaluation of piloted items leads to valid, reliable and fair examinations for all candidates.

The five parts of the ADEX Dental Examination
The two parts of the ADEX Dental Hygiene Examination

The CDCA’s DSE OSCE is the first and continuously maintained, independent, third-party OSCE in dentistry, first computerized from its paper form in 2001. An OSCE is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, the DSE OSCE is the didactic computerized portion of the five-element American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) dental licensure examination. Pilot questions have been a part of every examination given and are integral to the test development process. A thorough evaluation of piloted items leads to valid, reliable and fair examinations for all candidates.

Items in the ADEX DSE OSCE will now include multiple-choice (single response); multiple choice (multiple response), extended match, drop down, fill in the blank, hot spot and drag and drop questions. CDCA subject matter experts and psychometricians have evaluated AITs, and believe with their inclusion, components of the ADEX blueprint will be presented in a context that adds increased fidelity with respect to the live practice of dentistry. The ADEX Dental Hygiene CSCE examination will undergo similar development. AITs facilitate a more thorough evaluation of a licensure candidate’s knowledge, through a demonstration of cognitive reasoning and applied judgments to case scenarios, rather than just identification of a correct choice. They offer the ability to require multiple answers to complex questions and assign scaled points and penalties for less than ideal, but not incorrect, responses.

Founded in 1969, and formerly known as the North East Regional Board of Dental Examiners, the CDCA is committed to serving boards of dentistry by designing and administering assessments that are based on sound principles of testing and measurement. A founding principle, the CDCA remains committed to a national uniform examination process dedicated to the protection of the public.

For more information about AITs, to see examples, and to learn about how the CDCA is working to incorporate them, click here.