Effect of Collaborative Group Testing on Dental Students' Performance and Perceived Learning in an Introductory Comprehensive Care Course

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Abstract

The use of collaboration while in dental school can help prepare dental students for the team-oriented nature of the workforce. One way to do this is via collaborative group testing (CGT), a method of assessment allowing students to learn from one another. The aim of this study was to examine the CGT method in a predoctoral dental education setting to determine if student examination performance improved with the addition of collaboration and if collaborative testing was beneficial to students' learning process. In 2016, all first-year dental students (n=76) at one U.S. dental school were assessed in an introductory comprehensive care course using a two-stage CGT in which students were assessed individually, prior to taking the same test in collaboration with an assigned partner. Three quizzes and a final examination were given in which student participants served as both control (individual assessments) and treatment (collaborative assessment). At the conclusion of the course, a questionnaire was administered to ascertain student perspectives. All assessments yielded favorable results with an overall score improvement from a mean of 81.1% on individual assessments to 91% on collaborative assessments (p=0.001), indicating that collaboration improved assessment outcomes. Additionally, retention of material was suggested with individual scores on the cumulative final surpassing average individual scores of the preceding quizzes (p<0.001). Students' responses on the questionnaire indicated that they perceived implementation of CGT was beneficial to their learning process. With these results, this testing methodology shows promise to enhance dental student learning, material retention, and teamwork.

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Keywords

  • assessment
  • collaborative testing
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • critical thinking
  • dental education
  • group testing
  • professional interest
  • team-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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