A possible measure of clinical competency
for undergraduates may be students’ continuous clinical assessment marks. This study compared each student’s continuous clinical assessment (CCA) mark with their summative clinical assessments (SCA) in Paedodontics, Crown and Bridgework, Endodontics and Basic Restorative Dentistry. This was done in order to evaluate the predictive potential of the former against the latter, more conventional measure of assessment. The criterion to determine clinical competence was 60% and any assessment achieved above this would imply clinical competency. Comparisons were made between CCA and SCA for the 39 BChD V undergraduates in the disciplines of Crown and Bridge-work, Paedodontics and Endodontics, as well as for the 59 BChD IV undergraduates in the discipline of Basic Restorative Dentistry, for the 2004 academic year. Data were analysed using a two-sample t-test and were also subjected to a Spearman Rank Order Correlation test. For the BChD V students,
differences between the two assessment measures were significant for Crown and Bridgework (p=0.00) and Endodontics (p=0.03), but not so for Paedodontics (p=0.22). For the BChD IV students the difference between CCA and SCA for Basic Restorative Dentistry (p=0.00) was significant. The Spearman test produced generally weak correlation values (p<0.4), while the average assessment for Crown and Bridgework for the BChD V group of <60% suggests that, on the basis of the results of this study, continuous clinical assessment cannot be used as a predictor of clinical competence in this discipline.