Assuring the Quality of Clinical Assessment
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Objectives: The opening proposition for this research paper is that in order to assure that assessment is of high quality, there should be alignment between the methods of assessment used, the way they are used, and the educational paradigm, philosophy and values of the program/school. Direct observation in Griffith's school of Dentistry (where, uniquely, dentists, therapists and hygienists study together), as well as recent research by Winning, Lim and Townsend (2005), suggests that it might be possible to improve such alignment. The primary objective of this research is to determine how that can be achieved. Methods: This study will begin by characterizing four different paradigms used in dental education. These are called 'traditional', 'procedural', 'problem-based learning' (PBL) and 'minimal intervention'. In each case, the study will identify and map the assessment methods used and will specify the principal purposes for those methods. Results: The mapping of assessment methods and purposes to educational paradigms will result in information which will allow academics and course / program designers to exercise better informed judgments in respect of the appropriate selection and use of assessment method. In principle, this will lead to an increased capacity to ensure that students' experiences of assessment are congruent with the educational aims and objectives of our programs - thereby leading to improve learning outcomes. Conclusion: This research hypothesises an association between, on one hand, choice and use of assessment methods and, on the other, the paradigm / educational philosophy / values of a school / program. It proposes that assessment is of higher quality when the assessments, their purposes and the paradigm are aligned. As such, achieving high quality educational outcomes for our students depends largely on the appropriate selection and use of assessment method.
International Association of Dental Research Australian and New Zealand Division 47th Annual Meeting