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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 131-136

Comparison of undergraduate dental students' academic performance using structured and unstructured oral examinations

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dayananda Sagara Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davanagere, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G V Usha
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davanagere, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijam.ijam_147_21

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Introduction: Assessment plays a central role in formal education. Unstructured oral examinations are the status quo in dental education in India but have some drawbacks, including a lack of inter-rater reliability. It is not known whether structured oral examinations provide different scores nor how they will be accepted by students or examiners. Materials and Methods: A sample of 20 students were randomly selected from a group of third-year BDS students who had scored 65% and above in the 2nd year university examination in Bapuji Dental College and Hospital. They were exposed to a total of 4 h of lecture and problem-solving sessions on dental ethics. Four raters (teaching faculty), having similar academic experience and designation, were selected and they were trained to conduct structured oral examinations according to a format, especially designed for the same purpose. Half the students underwent structured examination followed by unstructured examination while half the students underwent unstructured examination followed by structured examination. Paired t-test was applied to find out the statistical difference between structured and unstructured oral examination formats. Results: The students obtained a mean score of 13.35 ± 3.8 out of a total score of 20 in the unstructured oral examination when compared to a mean score of 14 ± 3.76 in the structured oral examination. The difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.69). The acceptance trended favorable for structure examination but was not statistically significant. The structured examination had higher inter-rater reliability than the unstructured examination. Conclusion: The results showed good reliability and repeatability of the structured oral examination format with an inter-rater reliability of 0.82. Structured viva voce was not found to improve the performance of students when compared to unstructured viva voce. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Practice-based learning and improvement, Patient care and procedural skills, Systems-based practice, Medical knowledge, Interpersonal and communication skills, and Professionalism.

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