Continuous Workplace-based Assessment as an Indication of Clinical Competence in Paediatric Dentistry

  • Nadia Mohamed
  • Liezl Smit


An authentic workplace setting provides the ideal opportunity for assessment
of students’ clinical competence at the ‘does’ level of performance.
Final-year dental students in the Department of Paediatric Dentistry at the
University of the Western Cape are evaluated in the clinical environment
on a daily basis through multiple clinical evaluations which assess clinical
and diagnostic skills over a year. An additional end-of-module clinical
assessment in the form of a single-blinded patient case (BPC) determines if
students have reached the expected level of clinical competence in terms of
patient evaluation and diagnosis. However, the reliability and feasibility of
this single end-of-module clinical case have been questioned in this setting.
This study aimed to determine if the current continuous workplace-based
assessment (WPBA) results could be used as an indication of final-year
students’ clinical competence at the end of the module. A retrospective,
quantitative, cross-sectional study was conducted of all complete assessment
records. The correlation between the continuous WPBA components was
analysed together with an evaluation of the reliability and validity of the
assessment results. The continuous formative WPBA practices were found
to be both valid and reliable when using Kane’s (2013) and Royal’s (2017)
frameworks for analysis. However, the BPC should be reconsidered due to
feasibility and reliability concerns.

Key words: Dental education, Paediatric Dentistry, clinical skills, workplace,
summative, formative, continuous assessment

How to Cite
Mohamed, N., & Smit, L. (2021). Continuous Workplace-based Assessment as an Indication of Clinical Competence in Paediatric Dentistry. International Journal of African Higher Education, 8(3), 122-143.