Comparison of dental student self-assessment between dual dental education systems in Korea | BMC medical training


Recently, the focus has shifted towards improving the quality of university education services based on a student-centered paradigm. Universities need to improve their accountability by understanding student needs, perspectives and values ​​and modifying university management and programs as needed. [8]. In this regard, student satisfaction surveys can be used as a basis for systematically analyzing student perceptions of university education. [9]. In addition, surveys of students’ perceived levels of achievement, including learners’ attitudes towards learning, are important factors in examining the effectiveness of education. [10]. Based on the results of this survey examining the satisfaction, educational connection and self-perceived competence of students enrolled in the 3+4 or 4+4 dental education system, the validity of the school system was analyzed and the means to improve dental education were considered.

4+4 students report better school satisfaction than 3+4 students. The difference in satisfaction between the two systems should be considered in conjunction with program selection and training. 4+4 students likely had concrete plans for their careers and prepared specific goals during their career planning process, as they go through another competitive admissions process to enter the graduate program of dental school. In contrast, 3+4s students are directly enrolled in the program from high school and remain there until they receive the DDS at the end of 7 years of coursework, and therefore have relatively fewer career concerns. dental and fitness.

According to previous studies, motivation for career and learning among pre-dental undergraduate students is generally low [11, 12]. The professional motivations of students vary according to the stage of development during the school curriculum. In the career choice model, the period of career and employment choice is considered after 18 or 25 years [13]. Academic enthusiasm or self-reliance shown by motivated students is a factor when choosing a program [14]. However, these criteria can change depending on when students experience strong professional motivation, which can be after high school or after undergrad. Personal opinions and concepts regarding the profession are among the major influencing factors for choosing dentistry as a career [15].

The 1910 Flexner Report also suggested that a four-year medical program was ideal and asserted that at least 2 years of basic science should be studied in college before studying medicine. [16, 17]. Consistent with this argument, beginning in the 1920s, 92% of American medical schools selected applicants with basic science skills. [18]. This is the logic behind the development of the 4+4 system, the current medical school system in the United States. An interesting result of this study is that 3 + 4 students show higher satisfaction with social sciences and interdisciplinary studies, while 4 + 4 students show higher satisfaction with natural sciences, engineering and mathematical statistics. The 3+4 system is designed for early exposure to courses that are highly relevant to dental majors, such as dentistry, genetics, and cell molecular biology. In addition, the ratio of multidisciplinary subjects is high to improve problem-solving ability for various social problems required by project-based learning. These project-based approaches can help contextualize scientific research in dental curricula [19].

On the other hand, it can be deduced that most 4 + 4 students obtained their bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences and engineering and that they were more satisfied with the courses of the major which are directly linked to the DDS curriculum. This is in line with the original intentions of the reform of medical education in the United States based on Flexner. To improve the integrity of the 7-year curriculum with a 3+4 system, preparation for core subjects must be systematically supported, as in previous studies where the undergraduate curriculum is seen as a period of building a foundation basic courses in medical education [20]. Furthermore, as Dienstag suggests, undergraduate education should not just be a simple preparatory course for basic medical education, but should also include creative educational experiences that can expand intellectual exploration and expose students to a broader liberal arts education. [21]. Thus, there is a need to monitor the effects of different educational systems and prior educational experiences on academic outcomes after enrollment in a professional graduate dental school.

Globally, the most common goals of dental education are to produce excellent dental clinicians, encourage dental scientists, and promote leaders in various fields. [22, 23]. Although the 3+4 and 4+4 systems are all aimed at training dental clinicians, the 4+4 system is more suited to fostering academic leaders in converging disciplines, especially in terms of encouraging students from different backgrounds at first cycle. For the proper functioning of the 3+4 system, more emphasis on clinical, research and leadership pathways could be considered. By selecting a career path at the entry stage with ongoing monitoring, it is possible to ensure competence in specialized areas that could be assessed upon graduation.

Recognizing that an institution’s educational objective is the primary criterion for developing a curriculum, an individual dental school, which selects students from the 3+4 and 4+4 systems, may find it difficult to establish integrated educational objectives [24]. Educational objectives should be established to reflect each stage of dental education, and the program should be designed accordingly. In the 3 + 4 system, which has a relatively low level of satisfaction, there is an urgent need to clearly define and reflect the basic skills and learning outcomes in the program that must be achieved during the first 3 years before entering in the last 4 years of higher education. school.

On the other hand, undergraduate students entering professional graduate schools through the 4+4 system require reinforcement in the fields of medical humanities and social dentistry. To this end, a dedicated department should be established to develop and evaluate a curriculum that integrates human and social dentistry topics with fundamental characteristics of dental education. The exposure of dental students to the humanities is recognized as an important element in the attitudes of dental practitioners [25]. However, training methods to acquire these skills have not yet been clearly defined, and outcome measures remain elusive. Since the areas of logical reasoning, data analysis, and situational analysis are assessed by the Korean Civil Service Aptitude Test, it is also possible to consider adapting various methods for evaluating educational performance in the humanities and social dentistry. Moreover, this study suggests that the entire curriculum of dental colleges should be integrated with consideration of connectivity. Basic science courses taught in the undergraduate program and clinical practice courses in the graduate DDS program should be seamlessly linked so that students can experience the full clinical care pathway based on evidence.

Although this study is mainly concerned with the perspective of the learner, the educational system should also be noted taking into account the social context of educational institutions. A variety of factors, such as changes in the academic system, development of technology, and public and community needs, influence the decision of the appropriate educational system, especially the educational system for health professionals [26]. The dental education systems in North America and Europe, which have been major touchstones of dental education, are also constantly evolving to meet societal expectations. Ongoing research into the duration and dental training program required to acquire the skills of a dentist should be maintained [27].


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