Levels of agreement between student and staff assessments of clinical skills in performing cavity preparation in artificial teeth




To determine the level of agreement between staff and students' assessment of clinical skills in performing tasks related to cavity preparation on a traditional dental manikin.


Two studies were conducted with two successive student cohorts: Study 1–138 year 1 BDS students in a 2009/10 cohort and Study 2–135 students in a 2010/11 cohort. Staff members and students rated the students' performance in preparing a cavity on a traditional dental manikin using artificial teeth: hand-held (Study 1) and located in a lower jaw (Study 2).

A 5-item criterion-related scoring rubric was developed. The rubric assessed students' abilities to hold the instrument correctly, determine the angle of entry to the tooth, remove the caries, conserve healthy tissues and avoid pulp exposure.


Agreement between the students' self-assessment and the staff's assessment was high for three of the five criteria (i.e. removal of artificial caries on the cavity wall, removal of artificial caries from the cavity floor and avoidance of pulp exposure). Levels of agreement for the remaining two criteria were moderate. A change in task difficulty affected the levels of agreement between staff and students, such that the more difficult the task, the greater the discrepancy in ratings.


Students tend to overrate the quality of their performance when compared with staff ratings. Task difficulty has an impact on levels of agreement.