Dental Students’ Ability to Assess Their Performance in a Preclinical Restorative Course: Comparison of Students’ and Faculty Members’ Assessments
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Abstract: Dental education consists of both theoretical and practical learning for students to develop competence in treating patients clinically. When dental students encounter practical courses in their first year as a new educational experience, they must also learn to evaluate themselves. Self-evaluation is an essential skill to learn for dental professionals to keep increasing their competence over the course of their careers. The aim of this study was to compare the assessment scores of second- and third-year dental students and the faculty in two consecutive preclinical practical exams in restorative dentistry courses in a dental school in Turkey. Faculty- and student-assigned scores were calculated from two consecutive preclinical examinations on tooth restorations performed on both artificial casts and phantom patients. The students were formally instructed on grading procedures for tooth preparations, base and restoration placement, and polishing criteria. After each step, each item was assessed by faculty members, the student, and another student. The results indicated that the initial differences between second-year students’ assess¬ments of their own preclinical practical ability and that of the faculty decreased among the third-year students. Self-evaluation scores did not indicate whether the third-year students tended to over- or underestimate the quality of their own work. However, the second-year students not only overestimated themselves but thought they were above average. The results point to the need to develop students’ self-insight with more exercises and practical training.