Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Dental Education





First Page


Last Page


Date of Submission

March 2015


The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of students exposed to two different instructional modalities for dental anatomy wax carving: CAI (computer-assisted instruction) using DVD technology, or traditional laboratory instruction. Students’ self-assessment scores were also compared to faculty scores, and students’ perceptions of their teaching modality were analyzed. Seventy-three first-year dental students (response rate 81 percent) participated in this randomized single blind trial, in which faculty graders were blinded to student group assignment. There were no statistical differences, as determined by the Wilcoxon non-parametric test and a t-test, between the faculty grades on the wax carving from the two teaching methods the students experienced. The student self-assessments revealed higher mean grades (3.0 for the DVD-only group and 3.1 for the traditional group) than the faculty actual mean grades (2.2 for both the DVD-only group and the traditional group) by almost one grade level on a 4.0 grade scale. Similar percentages of students in the traditional group had either favorable or unfavorable perceptions of their learning experience, while more students in the DVD-only group reported favorable perceptions. Students from both groups said they wanted more faculty feedback in the course. Based on these objective and subjective data, merging CAI and traditional laboratory teaching may best enhance student learning needs.


Reprinted by permission of Journal of Dental Education, Volume 73, 8 (August 2009). Copyright 2009 by the American Dental Education Association.

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VCU Periodontics Publications