National Board Dental Examination moves to Pass/Fail

It's official! According to the revisions to examination regulation by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Parts I and II as well as the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) will move to Pass/Fail effective January 1, 2012.

Why? Good news or bad?  First of all the purpose of the NBDE is to assist State boards in determining qualifications of dentists who seek licensure to practice. The changes were made upon the recognition that 1. the scores were not being used for their intended purpose (ex. ranking dental schools, faculty evaluations, etc) 2. the scores are not necessarily a good measure of one’s academic ability 3. worry over it's integrity due to overexposure from re-testing  and 4. some schools base acceptance to their residency programs heavily and many times solely on National Board scores – where they set a minimum score and everyone with scores below that minimum is basically “skimmed” off, not allowing all applicants a fair evaluation.

Research was conducted where residency program administrators were asked what they look for in an applicant and it was noted that the top 5 criteria were non-cognitive/non-academic, with the exception of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery programs which base their acceptance heavily on academic ability. With that said, the intention of the pass/fail system will allow the highlight of the other areas of the individuals’ abilities. But what does that mean for those who want to specialize? If there are no scores to compare candidates how do they select them? Will specialty programs implement a system where those seeking to specialize take another standardized exam? Those are questions that are still unanswered and quite frankly is not looking good for that group of people; but one thing is for certain, GPA, volunteer/extracurricular activities, Letter of recommendations and Personal Statements will be looked at with more scrutiny and carry a lot more weight than they currently do.

If the good intentions of the ADEA are met with those of the administrators of these 
residency programs, I say this endeavor can be a good thing. Passing still stands at 75% and there will be no changes to the exam.

Also, effective April 2012  the endodontics diagnostic terminology adopted by the American Association of Endodontists will be incorporated in the NBDE Part II. I don't know what this is but, phew! all these changes.

See here for Examination Info from the JCNDE



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up!

Unknown said...

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