Dental education involves teaching and assessing the acquisition of verifiable domains that require superior psychomotor, communication, and cognitive skills. Evolving technologies and methods of assessment could enhance student learning environment and improve tutor assessment experience.
The aim of this study was to introduce the application of a comprehensive high-stakes online exam to final-year dental students during the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluate its effectiveness.
A high-stakes exam was introduced and implemented online to the final-year dental students prior to their graduation. The exam consisted of four components: MEQs, MCQs, OSCE and an oral exam. The exam and invigilation were conducted using Blackboard and MS Teams programs. Stakeholders' views of the exam were obtained using two tailored surveys, one for students and another for faculty; both included closed- and open-ended questions.
The exam was run successfully without untoward events. Both students and staff were satisfied with the online exam with the latter being more satisfied than the former. Students with previous experience in online learning system were more satisfied with the online exam compared with those with less experience (p < 0.05). The main issues raised by students' satisfaction with the exam were: inadequacy of time for the MEQ part, prevention of back tracking in the MCQ part and minor technological issues, whereas those raised by faculty members were increased time required to complete the exam setup and grading compared to the paper-based exam and minor technological issues.
A newly introduced, multi-format, online high-stakes exam was implemented successfully to final-year dental students with minor technological issues and good satisfaction by students and staff alike.