Predictive validity of critical thinking skills for initial clinical dental hygiene performance

Karen B. Williams, Douglas R. Glasnapp, Terri S.I. Tilliss, Joy Osborn, Kris Wilkins, Shannon Mitchell, Wendy Kershbaum, Colleen Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study collected validity evidence on the utility of critical thinking skills and critical thinking disposition in predicting initial clinical performance. The predictive value of critical thinking skills scores and disposition scores was examined to determine their unique contribution beyond that provided by traditional predictors: grade point average, age, and number of college hours. The study involved three phases: establishing content validity of three outcome measures; assessing students' baseline critical thinking skills and disposition using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) and the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (CCTDI); and assessing students' initial clinical competence, clinical reasoning, and clinical knowledge. All baccalaureate-level dental hygiene programs in the United States affiliated with a dental school (N=22) were invited to participate; of those, seven volunteered. A convenience sample of 207 first-year dental hygiene students was obtained. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses demonstrated that CCTST scores explained a statistically significant (p<.05) proportion of variance in students' initial clinical reasoning scores, acquired knowledge scores, and faculty ratings, above and beyond that explained by other predictor variables. CCTDI scores were not significant predictors of any outcome measure. It was concluded that CCTST is a good predictor of initial student outcomes and may have utility for student selection and retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1192
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the ADHA Institute for Oral Health and ADEA/Young Dental Manufacturing Company Dental Hygiene Development Grant for funding of this study. We also thank Nona Tollefson, Ph.D., John Poggio, Ph.D., Janet Marquis, Ph.D., Pamela Duncan, P.T., Ph.D., Daniel Tira, Ph.D., and William Mayberry, Ph.D., for their advice and support on the development of this project.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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