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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Misconceptions amongst dental students: How can they be identified?

  • Author(s): Grazziotin-Soares, R
  • Lind, SL
  • Ardenghi, DM
  • Curtis, DA
  • et al.

Published Web Location

To compare the frequency of misconceptions amongst dental students resulting from assessments in different subject areas using different types of multiple-choice questions (MCQs). We wanted to know whether misconceptions, or strongly held incorrect beliefs, differed by subject area or question type.A total of 104 students completed two assessments that included 20 MCQs on endodontics and 20 MCQs on dental implants. On each examination, 10 questions were scenario-type questions requiring interpretation or analysis and 10 questions were factual-based, knowledge questions. Incorrect responses and confidence levels by student and subject were recorded for a comparison of average misconceptions by question type and for correlations between scenario and knowledge question types for misconceptions on both assessments.Students were overly confident on their incorrect responses and misconceptions for both assessments. On the endodontic examination, students held a statistically significant higher number of mean misconceptions on scenario questions than for knowledge questions, but the difference was not statistically significant for the dental implant examination. There was a moderately weak relationship between scenario and knowledge questions for misconceptions on the endodontic (r=.31) and dental implant (r=.20) assessments, suggesting students who have misconceptions on knowledge questions are somewhat more likely to have misconceptions on scenario questions.Students had a consistent rate of overconfidence (75%) in their incorrect responses regardless of question type or dental subject. Questions that prompted a higher per cent of incorrect responses were more likely to detect misconceptions, as students were highly confident in their mistakes, for both assessments.

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