Consumers provide input on the assessment of communication skills

Consumers provide input on the assessment of communication skills

3 March 2020
Dr Denise Bailey presents at second consumer-led workshop

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) has identified the potential benefits of involving consumers in the design and assessment of ADC examinations. As a first step, the ADC has been working to involve consumers in the design of the communication marking rubric and to assist in setting the passing standard for the practical examination for overseas-qualified dentists.

On 21 February, the ADC brought together consumers and current ADC examiners for a standard setting workshop to identify the passing standard for the communication cluster of the general dentistry practical examination.

Using a criterion-referenced standard setting method, consumers and examiners worked together to discuss and clarify the benchmark standard of a recently qualified Australian graduate. All participants received training to ensure a shared understanding of the marking rubric, checklist scoring and awarding a global rating.

Once all participants were calibrated, they reviewed a series of videos of communication-based examination stations. Participants awarded each candidate a rating for each item on the marking rubric and a global rating specific to the candidate’s overall communication skills. Rubric ratings and global scores will be combined, using borderline regression analysis, to identify the passing standard for the communication cluster.

This standard setting workshop was a continuation of the work completed during a consumer-led workshop in November 2019. During the first workshop, the ADC drew on the extensive lived experience of a group of consumer participants to develop a comprehensive list of attributes and actions which represent good communication in a dental setting. Participants then reviewed the list to identify common themes. These included:

  • Ensuring that patients are seen as the centre of decision making.
  • Seeking out and respecting patient views and priorities.
  • Involving patients in the decision making.
  • Clearly, respectfully and fully explaining the information a patient needs to make informed decisions.

These themes were used to develop a revised marking rubric for the assessment of overseas-trained dental practitioners during the practical examination. The rubric was reviewed and refined by a sub-group of consumers and a sample of examiners between the workshops.

The ADC will introduce the revised rubric and associated passing standard for the communication cluster during 2020.

Information about the inaugural consumer-led workshop is available here. More information on the ADC’s work on consumer involvement in the design and delivery of assessments and examinations is available here.

Research