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Eur J Dent Educ. 2001 Nov;5(4):148-54.

Basic science knowledge of dental students on conventional and problem-based learning (PBL) courses at Liverpool.

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University of Liverpool, School of Dentistry, Liverpool, UK.


This cross-sectional study investigated performances of two consecutive cohorts of second year dental students on completion of a conventional didactic course and two succeeding cohorts of second year dental students on a recently introduced problem-based learning (PBL) course at The University of Liverpool School of Dentistry. A 40 part true/false questionnaire tested recall of factual knowledge in anatomy, biochemistry, oral biology and physiology. The results showed no significant difference in the total scores when negatively marked between the conventional and PBL course groups but higher total scores in the PBL groups when positively marked. Performances in anatomy, oral biology and physiology did not differ between the groups when negatively marked but the scores of the conventional course groups in biochemistry were significantly lower than the others. With positive marking biochemistry scores were not significantly different but all other subjects were significantly higher in the PBL course groups. The PBL course groups offered fewer blank responses than the conventional course groups but the ratio of correct to incorrect responses, for both definite and intelligent guess responses, were similar in these groups. The compositional profile of the study groups was similar with respect to educational background but the PBL course groups included more females and more older students. The results of this study show that the overall knowledge recall in the basic sciences by dental students on PBL or conventional didactic courses does not differ and may be helpful to those considering the introduction of PBL into the curriculum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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