Indian Journal of Dental Research

ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 175--179

Evaluation of academic performance of undergraduate dental students in a government medical university in Kerala, India


PK Sudhir1, KG Varghese2, B George3,  
1 Controller of Examinations, Kerala University of Health Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences, Kerala, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B George
Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences, Perumthuruthy, Tiruvalla, Kerala
India

Abstract

Introduction: Dentistry is considered to be a high-stress profession. The educational period in dental schools is viewed as a highly demanding and stressful learning environment. The aim of the study was to evaluate the academic performance of undergraduate dental students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches admitted at Kerala University of Health Sciences. Materials and Methods: The present retrospective study evaluated the performance of dental students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches from their first Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) to the completion of final BDS Part 2 examination. The study was carried out from August 2010 to March 2017. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 19 software. Chi-square test was used for analyzing the significance of difference between proportions. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: The results of first BDS students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches were 35.8%, 49.9%, and 55.5%, respectively. Whereas, the results of the final BDS Part 2 students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches were 92.6%, 88.4%, and 92.5%, respectively. Conclusion: The present study shows a decline in performance of dental students at the time of inception of the university, and as time progressed, the results of the students showed significant improvement.



How to cite this article:
Sudhir P K, Varghese K G, George B. Evaluation of academic performance of undergraduate dental students in a government medical university in Kerala, India.Indian J Dent Res 2019;30:175-179


How to cite this URL:
Sudhir P K, Varghese K G, George B. Evaluation of academic performance of undergraduate dental students in a government medical university in Kerala, India. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jun 25 ];30:175-179
Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2019/30/2/175/259233


Full Text

 Introduction



Students are the crucial elements of any nation in the present era of globalization. The performance of students is a crucial factor in the development of quality graduates, which in turn enhances the economic growth of the country. Academic achievement is considered as a first step for hiring fresh graduates and it is linked with students to increase their productivity and quality of life.[1] Dentistry is considered a high-stress profession, beginning with the educational period in dental schools, viewed as a highly demanding and stressful learning environment.[2],[3] Anxiety, depression, and burnout associated with stress are psychological illnesses repeatedly mentioned in studies regarding not only dental professionals but also dental students.[4],[5],[6],[7] The current data identify academic stress as a strong predictor of psychological well-being in medical and dental students, the heavy workload related to the demanding curricula, the frequent theoretical and practical examinations, the transition to clinical practice, and the necessity to acquire adequate clinical competencies and interpersonal skills, of great importance when dealing with a patient, being the most significant sources of stress from the students perspective.[8],[9],[10],[11] Education nowadays is more than a transmission of facts; it is also about helping the individual to reach his/her maximum potential, both personally and professionally.[12] Examination is an integral part in any area of academic program, to measure a students' progress toward predetermined objectives.[13]

The Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) is a government medical university situated in Thrissur, Kerala. The university was established in the year 2010 for ensuring proper and systematic instruction, teaching, training, and research in modern medicine, homeopathy, and Indian systems of medicine including ayurveda, siddha, yoga, naturopathy, unani, and other allied health sciences and also to have uniformity in the various academic programs in medical and allied subjects in the state of Kerala. The university has 25 dental colleges affiliated to it, of which 5 are government and 20 are self-financing dental colleges.

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course under KUHS is a structured 51/2-year course with 41/2 years of study and 1-year of compulsory rotating internship. The first 2 years of study is of nonclinical orientation and the next 21/2 years of study is clinical orientation. At the end of each year, there is a structured evaluation of the student through a theory and practical and viva examination. A student who clears both theory and practical examination of a year of course will be promoted to the next year of the course. After completion of the final BDS Part 2 examination, the student has to undergo a 1-year period of internship for enhancing his clinical skills in various disciplines in dentistry. The BDS degree certificate is awarded to the student by the university after the successful completion of the internship.

The theory examination comprises a question paper (QP) which carries 100 marks. Each paper consists of two long essay questions, four short essay questions, and ten short note questions. The mark distributions for each long essay, short essay, and short note are 14 marks, 8 marks, and 4 marks, respectively. At the centralized theory valuation camp at the university, evaluators are briefed about the QP and the valuation guidelines and allotted answer books. The marks are entered in the evaluation slips in the answer books. The evaluated answer book is scrutinized by the chairperson, and the respective bar-coded evaluation slip is torn off. The marks are entered into the computer against the bar-code. The printouts of mark sheets are verified and signed by the evaluator and the chairperson. The answer book goes to another evaluator for a second evaluation and the entire procedure is repeated. The average of these two marks forms the final marks for that paper. If the difference between the two sets of marks is > 15%, a third evaluation is conducted by a separate team. After the third evaluation, the higher two marks of the total three marks are averaged to obtain the final marks. The result is declared on the university's website within 24 h of the meeting of the pass board.[14] Till date, there are no published studies to evaluate the academic performance of dental students at university level.

This study aims to evaluate the overall academic progression of undergraduate dental students admitted in the academic years 2010, 2011, and 2012 in various dental colleges affiliated to KUHS.

 Materials and Methods



The materials for this retrospective study were obtained from the results of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches of BDS students from August 2010 to March 2017. The software used for the examination purpose was “KUHS Examination Suite” which was developed by the IT department of KUHS. The statistics of the results were available from the computer software of the university which was verified and counterchecked by the Controller of Examination, KUHS, prior to the publication of the results in its website. The academic performance of the BDS students under KUHS in the first BDS and final BDS Part 2 examinations was evaluated through this study. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 19 software (IBM SPSS, Statistical Package for Social Sciences, Chicago USA). Data were presented as frequencies and percentages. Chi-square test was used for analyzing the significance of difference between proportions. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05.

 Results



[Table 1] represents the subject-wise results of first BDS students (2010, 2011, and 2012 batches) of KUHS. Female students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches scored better results in all three subjects compared to their male counterparts. Among students of 2010 batch, the highest result was observed in the subject of dental anatomy, embryology, and oral histology (52.9%). Among students of 2011 batch, the highest result was obtained in the subject of general human physiology and biochemistry (69.1%). Among students of the 2012 batch, the highest result was noted in the subject of dental anatomy, embryology, and oral histology (74.4%).{Table 1}

[Table 2] summarizes the subject-wise results of final BDS Part 2 students (2010, 2011, and 2012 batches) of KUHS. Among students of 2010 batch, the highest result was observed in the subject of prosthodontics and crown and bridge (98.9%). Among students of 2011 batch, the highest result was obtained in the subject of pediatric and preventive dentistry (97.8%). Among students of the 2012 batch, the highest result was noted in the subject of conservative dentistry and endodontics (98.2%).{Table 2}

[Table 3] represents the comparison of pass percentage of subjects between genders among first BDS students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches. The present study reveals an increase in pass percentage among both male and female students in the subjects of general anatomy including embryology, histology, dental anatomy and oral histology from 2010 to 2012 batches. The difference was found to be statistically significant. In the subject of general human physiology and biochemistry, an initial increase in pass percentage was observed among both male and female students and followed by a slight decrease in the pass percentage in the subsequent year. The difference was statistically significant (P = 0.0007).{Table 3}

[Table 4] reveals the comparison of pass percentage of subjects between genders among final BDS Part 2 students of 2010, 2011, and 2012 batches. Among students of the 2010 batch, females secured a better pass percentage in all the four subjects compared to their counterparts. Among students of the 2011 batch, females secured better pass percentage in two subjects (prosthodontics and crown and bridge and conservative dentistry and endodontics) while males secured better pass percentage in two subjects (pediatric and preventive dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery) compared to their respective counterparts. Among students of the 2012 batch, females secured better pass percentage in three subjects (prosthodontics and crown and bridge, conservative dentistry and endodontics and pediatric and preventive dentistry) when compared to their counterparts.{Table 4}

[Table 5] demonstrates the comparison of overall pass percentage of first BDS students among three batches. The present study demonstrates that the overall result was lowest in the year 2010 (35.8%) and highest in the year 2012 (55.5%). The difference observed was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.00001).{Table 5}

[Table 6] demonstrates the comparison of overall pass percentage of final BDS Part 2 students among three batches. In the present study, it was observed that the overall result was 92.6% in 2010, 88.4% in 2011, and 92.5% in 2012. The result trend shows an initial decline followed by a gradual increase. The difference was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.03).{Table 6}

 Discussion



The present study identified the academic progress of three batches of undergraduate dental students. Majority of the students in all three batches were females. Female predominance was found among undergraduate dental students in Egypt,[15] Romania,[16] and Croatia.[17] In the present study, the results of first BDS students were low in 2010 and increased in the subsequent 2 years. In contrast to the first BDS results, the final BDS Part 2 results were better in 2015, declined in 2016, and again improved in 2017.

In the light of the findings of the current study, it is difficult to explain why female students outperform their male peers. Some of the reasons could be dedication of more time for studies, spending less time on social networking, and less absenteeism from lectures and laboratory work. Teacher effectiveness is one of the most important factors that contribute a lot in the students' achievement and often overcomes other factors such as class strength, gender, as well as socioeconomic status of students.[18],[19] Dental colleges in Kerala should facilitate enhancement of knowledge of faculty by attending refresher courses by trained faculty. This is very vital in improving the academic performance of students. Quality dental professionals will contribute significantly to the improvement of the oral health of the community, thereby contributing to the development of the nation.

The limitation of this study is the unavailability of literature of medical universities pertaining to academic performance of dental students. Further studies should be directed to identify the factors responsible for the failure of students in university examinations.

 Conclusion



The present study reveals that the academic progress of undergraduate dental students was poor at the time of inception of KUHS. Gradually, the results have improved as time passed by. This study shows that there is an urgent need for the identification of the factors for failure of undergraduate dental students in the first BDS examination in dental colleges under KUHS. Identification and rectification of the problems faced by the students will definitely help in improving the academic performance and better results in the university examinations.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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