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CA DENTAL BOARD REPORT MAY 2017
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Report of the Meeting of the Dental Board of California

May 11-12, 2017

Prepared for the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry

The Dental Board of California met May 11-12, in Garden Gove, California. The following report summarizes actions and issues coming before the Board pertinent to pediatric oral health

 

SUSPENSION OF THE RDA PRACTICAL EXAMINATION

Acting on the findings of an analysis by the Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Dental Board in April voted to suspend until July 1 administration of the Registered Dental Assistant practical examination as a condition for licensure. The analysis concluded that the practical examination failed to meet psychometric standards of reliability, test security and standardization while also questioning the practical’s necessity, accuracy and content validity. Specifically, OPES identified inconsistencies in different test site conditions, deficiencies in scoring criteria, poor calibration of examiners, and the lack of a clear definition of minimum acceptable competence. OPES estimated a low risk of harm to the public from the suspension of the examination because of other measures in place (i.e., passing a written examination and the fact that RDAs are under general or direct supervision of a licensed dentist). During the suspension of the practical examination, the Board will continue to license applicants who have not taken, or have not successfully passed, the practical examination, so long as all other requirements of licensure, including successful completion of the RDA Written Examination and the RDA Law & Ethics Examination, are met.

Based on OPES’ experience, correcting the problems to bring the examination into compliance with technical and professional standards will requires a great deal of time, staffing and fiscal resources from the Board and cannot be accomplished by July 1. With that understanding, the Board is seeking urgency legislation (SB 1732) to extend the dates of the suspension to provide adequate time to identify reasonable alternatives and not create a temporary unnecessary barrier to RDA licensure in California.

Comment: Unless urgency legislation is provided by the legislature and signed by the governor by July 1, it is unclear what action the Board would be able to take, or required to take, in regard to the practical examination.

 

COMBINING THE RDA WRITTEN EXAMINATION AND LAW & ETHICS EXAMINATION

At its December 2016 meeting, the Dental Board and the Dental Assisting Council discussed combining the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) general written examination and the RDA law and ethics examination into a single test to ease the path to licensure for RDA candidates. Such action was supported by the 2016 RDA Occupational Analysis by the Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES). Under a combined examination, candidates would only have to schedule and pay for one written examination instead of scheduling and paying for two such challenges.

Comment: If all goes according to plan, the one combined examination will be offered beginning May 2018. The change will not likely, in itself, increase pass rates (which are now only 62% for the RDA general exam and 61% for the RDA law and ethics exam), but at least will ease the candidate pathway.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Reggiardo, DDS,

Public Policy Advocate, California Society of Pediatric Dentistry.

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