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          The aim of the study was to establish the subjective perception of dental medicine students' knowledge and skills in prosthodontics and to determine both how their perception changed during their study, by gaining clinical experience. Also, the aim was to investigate if there were any socio-demographic factors that influenced students' perception.


          The research, based on an anonymous survey for dental medicine students was carried out at the School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb in 2015. YES/NO/DO NOT KNOW questions were used for assessment of students' knowledge, and a 50 mm visual analog scale was used for assessment of their abilities and skills. The Chi-square test, t-test for independent samples, analysis of variance and the Pearson's correlation coefficient were used for statistical data analysis.


          Students' response (4th, 5th and 6th year of study) to the study amounted to 71,3%. The results showed that clinical experience and the number of correct answers from knowledge assessment increased with the year of study. Students with completed dental laboratory technician school took statistically significantly larger number of impressions and fabricated a significantly larger number of fixed restorations. Additionally, the results showed a significantly higher level of agreement with the statements about their perception of knowledge and skills.


          Students' perceptions on learning positively correlated with the number of completed semesters in prosthodontics and the students’ own clinical experience.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

          People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
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            Unskilled and unaware--but why? A reply to Krueger and Mueller (2002).

            J. Kruger and D. Dunning (1999) argued that the unskilled suffer a dual burden: Not only do they perform poorly, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. J. Krueger and R. A. Mueller (2002) replicated these basic findings but interpreted them differently. They concluded that a combination of the better-than-average (BTA) effect and a regression artifact better explains why the unskilled are unaware. The authors of the present article respectfully disagree with this proposal and suggest that any interpretation of J. Krueger and R. A. Mueller's results is hampered because those authors used unreliable tests and inappropriate measures of relevant mediating variables. Additionally, a regression-BTA account cannot explain the experimental data reported in J. Kruger and D. Dunning or a reanalysis following the procedure suggested by J. Krueger and R. A. Mueller.
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              In the students' own words: what are the strengths and weaknesses of the dental school curriculum?

              Dental students have little input into the selection of course topics and subject matter included in their dental curricula. Curriculum requirements are framed by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which has stipulated competencies and associated biomedical and clinical knowledge that must be addressed during dental school. Although these competency requirements restrict the variance of educational experiences, students are eager to share their views on the curriculum within the realm of their educational experience. The objective of this research project was to elicit the perspectives of dental students from a broad cross-section of U.S. and Canadian dental schools about their education. A total of 605 students (285 sophomores, 220 seniors, 100 residents) from twenty North American dental schools completed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to communicate their perceptions of the curriculum. Students were also asked to provide their impressions of the overall quality of the educational program in an open-ended written format. The students' qualitative comments were then reviewed and categorized into key issues or themes. Resulting themes for each category of the Curriculum SWOT (C-SWOT) analysis were the following. Strengths: 1) clinical learning experience, and 2) opportunity to work with knowledgeable faculty. Weaknesses: 1) disorganized and inefficient clinical learning environment, 2) teaching and testing that focus on memorization, 3) poor quality instruction characterized by curricular disorganization, and 4) inconsistency among instructors during student evaluations. Opportunities: 1) develop strategies to provide students with more exposure to patients, especially early in the curriculum, and 2) opportunities to learn new technology/techniques. Threats: 1) cost of dental education, 2) students' concerns about faculty "brain drain," i.e., lack of sufficient numbers of dental faculty capable of providing high-quality instruction, and 3) questionable treatment of patients in the dental clinic as a consequence of pursuing procedural requirements. This report presents commentaries selected from 2,421 total responses that communicate students' perspectives related to C-SWOT themes. Students at seven schools in this study reported that they completed all or portions of the first two years of the curriculum in combined classes with medical students. Sophomore and senior students at these schools provided their thoughts on this curricular approach; these perceptions are also reported. Findings from this study are compared to results from a similar investigation of dental student perceptions conducted fifty years ago. We conclude that students participating in this study were positive overall about their learning experiences in dental schools, but identified several areas that appear to be problematic for many students at a variety of different schools including fundamental concerns about instructional quality in some areas of the curriculum. Academic program administrators in dental schools can use these findings to guide modifications that will enhance the overall dental education experience.

                Author and article information

                Acta Stomatol Croat
                Acta Stomatol Croat
                Acta Stomatologica Croatica
                University of Zagreb School of Dental Medicine, and Croatian Dental Society - Croatian Medical Association
                December 2017
                December 2017
                : 51
                : 4
                : 271-282
                [1 ]Department of Prosthodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb , Zagreb, Croatia;
                [2 ]Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb , Zagreb, Croatia;
                [3 ]student, School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb , Zagreb, Croatia;
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence:
Nikša Dulčić, 
University of Zagreb
School of Dental Medicine
Department of Prosthodontics 
Gundulićeva 5, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) 4.0 License.

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