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J Dent Educ. 2012 Dec;76(12):1646-56.

Predicting high achievers in the University of Adelaide, Australia, Bachelor of Oral Health program, 2002-09.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, University of Adelaide, 233 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, South Australia 5000, Australia. sue.gardner@adelaide.edu.au


The Bachelor of Oral Health (B.O.H.) commenced at the University of Adelaide in 2002. The degree was formed by combining the Diploma in Dental Therapy and the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Dental Hygiene. This preliminary study measured the predictive value of the selection criteria against students' academic performance at the end of each enrollment year of the B.O.H. program. Predictive indicators were prior academic achievement (i.e., tertiary entrance ranking [TER], university grade point average, or Special Tertiary Admissions Test scores) and the admission cognitive test score (i.e., Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test [UMAT] and Oral Assessment [OA] ranking). Predictive indicators were compared with the students' level of academic achievement across the three-year program. The aim of this study was to determine if prior academic achievement, cognitive test scores, and oral assessment predicted high level of academic achievement for B.O.H. students. The TER was found to be a strong predictor for academic performance after controlling for age, gender, type of applicant, and student preference in the first year along with older students (>25 years) and a higher UMAT score. Raising the TER cut-off for entry to the program should be considered, along with less emphasis on the OA and UMAT, because such a change would have little impact on achievement and would increase the pool of applicants.

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