Thank you for your interest in the IDEA Grant Program. The 2013-2014 application cycle is now closed.

The IDEA Grant Program was created to encourage research and development of innovative assessment methods in dental or dental hygiene education or practice that would be transferable to the testing programs of the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). 


An early and continuing goal of the JCNDE has been to encourage improvements in methods for evaluating the knowledge and cognitive skills of candidates for dental or dental hygiene licensure.  In 2002, the Joint Commission created the Innovative Dental Assessment (IDEA) Research and Development Grants program to outsource appropriate research projects designed to encourage innovations in the Joint Commission's testing programs.   

Program Goal

The goal of the IDEA Grant Program is to enhance the Joint Commission's testing program with respect to the evaluation of those seeking licensure to practice dentistry or dental hygiene. Expected outcomes include advances in the theory, knowledge, or practice of assessment as it relates to this testing program. In particular, assessment methods should be directly relevant to the evaluation of competencies for practice relevant to the entry level dental or dental hygiene practitioner. Examples of potential projects include the use of testlets or key features items, innovative item formats, test security innovations and technology-enhanced assessment. Special consideration will be given to topics that are consistent with the goals of the Joint Commission's current and future testing programs. Pilot projects and more comprehensive projects are of interest. Collaborative investigations among institutions are encouraged.

IDEA Application Procedures 

To increase the quality of proposals received and their alignment with the goals of the Joint Commission, the JCNDE approved the following changes to the IDEA application process:

  • IDEA applicants must include a letter of intent with a 2-page summary of their proposed projects.
  • The timeline between application and award cycle has been revised to include the submission and review of the letter of intent.
  • The letter of intent will be reviewed by the chair of the Committee on Research and Development, one R&D consultant and one Joint Commission staff member.