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The Issues
Licensure Reform

The current system of licensure exams has been controversial. According to the American Dental Education Association, "ethical and practical questions about the use of human subjects, regional variations in examinations and results, and the reliability and validity of the exams have been some of the sources of concern."

Licensure Reform Toolkit

ASDA has created a number of resources to help advocate and educate students, the dental community and other stakeholders on the need for licensure reform. Use these at lunch and learns and advocacy academies, as well as in discussions with legislators and other constituencies.

  • ASDA's white paper details the major shortfalls of the current licensure examination process.
  • NEW!The licensure infographic illustrates the problems with the current exam and shows how ASDA’s ideal exam addresses them.
  • NEW!The licensure timeline provides a historical look at dental licensure and reform efforts over the years.
17 Licensure Timeline

ASDA Board Adopts Licensure Policy

At Annual Session 2016, the House of Delegates adopted the L-1 policy to further advance ASDA’s licensure reform efforts. If you have any questions, contact your district trustee.

L-1 Initial Licensure Pathways 

ASDA understands alternatives that are preferable to the current process exist, however the Association believes an ideal licensure exam:

  • Does not use human subjects in a live clinical testing scenario
  • Is psychometrically valid and reliable in its assessment
  • Is reflective of the scope of current dental practice
  • Is universally accepted

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) believes demonstration of both kinesthetic and clinical decision-making competence is necessary to obtain initial dental licensure.  ASDA believes this should be demonstrated through the following:

  • Manikin-based kinesthetic assessment,  
  • A non-patient based Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and
  • Submission of a portfolio of comprehensive patient care.

ASDA Response to Buffalo CIF 

The Buffalo Curriculum Integrated Format (CIF) model is a modification of the traditional licensure exam format. Modifications include:

  • Calibrating faculty and integrating the exam into the curriculum
  • Restricting eligible patients to patients of record
  • Offering multiple exam dates
  • Proctoring the exam during the normal clinic day

At their meeting in January 2016, the ASDA Board of Trustees approved a new position statement in response to the Buffalo CIF. This statement represents ASDA's stance on this new licensure model, which while a step forward, does not meet the conditions for a licensure pathway outlined in ASDA's L-1 policy.

Licensure Reform in the News

Licensure Reform Resources

Heartland Dental Pacific Dental Services ADA


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