Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Choi, Namok

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

King, Kristi

Committee Member

Scarfe, William

Author's Keywords

Dental education; NBDE; demographic; DAT; licensure; academic performance


Dental students need to successfully challenge a national licensure examination to be able to practice dentistry. Dental educators currently have difficulty in identifying candidates who are at risk of failing this examination. This non-experimental quantitative study examined existing dental student data from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 graduating classes, using a retrospective and correlational approach to identify possible markers for at risk students. Demographic factors, dental admission test (DAT) factors, pre-program academic factors, dental program academic performance, and National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part I performance. A series of independent t-tests and One-Way analysis of variances (ANOVAs) were used to examine the students’ performances regarding their gender and race. Logistic regression models were used to predict NBDE Part I performance at the first attempt from each categorical (demographic factor) and continuous predictor (pre-program academic performance, DAT performance, and dental program academic Performance). Gender and race were significantly associated with the student’s academic achievement at the undergraduate level and the DAT; however, the influence of these factors diminished in the dental program academic performance and the NBDE Part I. Student’s dental program performance were significantly associated with the NBDE Part I outcomes. Within the limitations of this study, dental students with different gender and race backgrounds all have the potential to successfully complete NBDE. Additional enrichment and bridge programs for the underrepresented minorities students may be used to maximize the future success of the enrolled diverse student body. The dental program can have performance benchmarks starting at program admission and continuing through the end of the second year to help identify at-risk students early and provide them with additional academic support.