Non-patient-based clinical licensure examination for dentistry in Minnesota: Significance of decision and description of process

Eric A. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In recent years in the United States, there has been heightened interest in offering clinical licensure examination (CLE) alternatives to the live patient-based method in dentistry. Fueled by ethical concerns of faculty members at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, the state of Minnesota's Board of Dentistry approved a motion in 2009 to provide two CLE options to the school's future predoctoral graduates: a patient-based one, administered by the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, and a non-patient-based one administered by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB). The validity of the NDEB written exam and objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) has been verified in a multi-year study. Via five-option, one-best-answer, multiple-choice questions in the written exam and extended match questions with up to 15 answer options in the station-based OSCE, competent candidates are distinguished from those who are incompetent in their didactic knowledge and clinical critical thinking and judgment across all dental disciplines. The action had the additional effects of furthering participation of Minnesota Board of Dentistry members in the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry's competency-based curriculum, of involving the school's faculty in NDEB item development workshops, and, beginning in 2018, of no longer permitting the patient-based CLE option on site. The aim of this article is to describe how this change came about and its effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-651
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Dental education
  • Ethics
  • Licensure
  • Licensure examination
  • OSCE


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