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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Lynn Beck

First Committee Member

Norena Badway

Second Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Third Committee Member

Delores McNair

Fourth Committee Member

Elisa Orosco


Dental schools are faced with the challenge of incorporating varied instructional methodologies into their curriculum. Various dental schools distinguish different modules in their program under preclinical and clinical disciplines with minimal connections between the two. This study investigated students' perceptions of their curriculum and, more specifically, compare and contrast dental students' perceptions of learning during the first or freshman years, the second or junior years, and the third years as seniors in 2005, 2006, and 2007. It contrasts the results from students' perceptions and students' actual learning to establish correlations between these two phenomena. Various standard assessments were used. Students' understanding of the use of dental materials including base, liner, and cement were measured as predicting factors to substantiate the accuracy of the students' perceptions. A questionnaire was used to elicit a total of 853 responses over the three consecutive years. Pearson correlations were applied to analyze the data. The main finding was a positive correlation between the accuracy of students perceptions of learning and their participation in clinical practice; whereas no correlation was confirmed with regard to the accuracy of students' perceptions of learning when students had only or primarily participated in preclinical courses. The results suggest that advanced students' perceptions and knowledge can be considered by faculty when making decisions regarding reform of their dental curriculum





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