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An Agenda for Change in the Clinical Licensure Process

Objectives developed at the invitational conference for dental clinical testing agencies, March 4, 1997

The American Dental Association should work in cooperation with the clinical testing agencies, the licensing jurisdictions, the American Association of Dental Examiners, the American Association of Dental Schools and the American Student Dental Association to facilitate improvements in the clinical licensure process. It is recognized that testing agencies or their constituencies may have statutory limitations that preclude their adoption of some changes, but all agencies are urged to address these objectives to the extent possible within such limitations. In pursuing these objectives, the Association should ensure that each testing agency retains its independent right to make changes to its examination to meet the needs of its constituents. These communities should address the following objectives:

  1. Promote the interaction of all testing agencies and boards of examiners to explore the concept of more uniform content and methodology in licensure examinations.
  2. Develop and promote the acceptance of guidelines for administration of a common content clinical examination and standardized examiner calibration.
  3. Encourage testing agencies to work with dental school faculties to help and participate in calibration activities.
  4. Minimize the use of patients in clinical licensure examinations, but where patients are used ensure that the safety and protection of the patient is of paramount importance and that patients are selected in an ethical manner. The use of a curriculum integrated format (CIF) in clinical licensing examinations provides an appropriate use of patients as it allows students to use patients of record within the patient's prescribed treatment plan.
  5. Develop and promote policies and procedures to make clinical licensure examinations more candidate-friendly.
  6. Encourage the development of publications, orientation sessions and other methods to better communicate to candidates information regarding clinical examination logistics.
  7. Minimize the time needed to notify candidates of examination results.
  8. Improve and standardize to the extent possible the testing agencies' appeals process.
  9. Urge the American Association of Dental Schools (now known as the American Dental Education Association) to encourage all dental schools to offer remediation programs for candidates who fail the clinical licensure examinations.
  10. Promote further study of the pre-graduation examinations by the clinical testing agencies and encourage the testing agencies and dental schools to work together to offer the pre-graduation examinations to the extent possible.
  11. Promote the acceptance by all licensing jurisdictions of the National Board Dental Examination in lieu of a separate written examination on oral diagnosis and treatment planning.
  12. Address the profession's concerns regarding the failure rates on clinical examinations, by collecting statistical data on examination results within the limits imposed by the need to protect confidentiality.