The Dental Council has been reviewing its examination process for applicants without prescribed qualifications wanting to register as dentists.
After evaluating a number of alternatives, Council has selected the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) as the new provider for the New Zealand Dental Registration Examination (NZDREX). The NDEB process offers a better system. It is more secure, more robust and will help protect and enhance the health and safety of patients.
The ‘new’ NZDREX process offers significantly improved written and face-to-face components. It comprises three phases - Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK), a multi-choice exam supervised by an invigilator; followed by Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ) and Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS) which will remain a face-to-face assessment, based at the University of Otago. The first AFK for New Zealand candidates will be offered in August 2015.
Council is assured that the competency standards set through the NDEB are equivalent to a graduating dental student from the University of Otago. The NDEB equivalence process is benchmarked to graduating students from Canadian-accredited programmes, qualifications which we have recognised since 2004 with reciprocity established in 2012.
Advantages of the new assessment process include:
Robust screening process with the AFK component providing a better early indicator of whether a candidate has the necessary fundamental knowledge to be able to pass the ACJ or ACS.
The examination question banks are vast and there is close attention to moderation of the marking of both written and practical components.
Due to the NDEB running both the written and face-to-face components, administrative efficiencies are expected - leading to reduced time and cost involved for candidates to complete all components. Further details relating to the new NZDREX can be accessed here.
Local dental practitioners will have the opportunity to act as examiners, as the examinations will be offered in New Zealand and a New Zealand dental academic will sit on the NDEB examination committee.
The Council’s key stakeholders and current examination candidates have been advised of the change.