The benefits of integrating dental and dental therapy and hygiene students in undergraduate curricula.
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PURPOSE: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the impact of integrating the teaching of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Bachelor of Dental Therapy and Hygiene (BScDTH) students in enquiry-based learning (EBL) sessions, using performance on multiple related integrated dental science (IDS) multiple-choice question assessments. METHOD: IDS assessments are sat twice in the first stages of both the BDS and BScDTH programmes. IDS scores from integrated and non-integrated cohorts were collated and compared across test occasions (first or second assessment of the stage) and programmes (BDS and BScDTH). RESULTS: The results revealed that IDS scores were, overall, significantly higher for students in integrated (M = 63.46, SD = 13.06) than non-integrated EBL groups (M = 60.75, SD = 13.67; F(1,207) = 4.277, P = 0.040, η p 2 = 0.020). Although this effect was not statistically significant when each programme was considered separately, the effect of integration on both programmes was nevertheless positive, with a more pronounced improvement for BScDTH (+7.88) than BDS (+0.63) students. CONCLUSIONS: Integrating students from different programmes for the teaching of core dental knowledge in team environments improves student performance in subsequent dental science assessments-and more so for BScDTH than BDS students. The fact that both groups benefit from integration should go some way towards reassuring institutions that are considering integration but are cautious of threats to "established" programmes.
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