Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Harvey Stone


This qualitative case study explored faculty perceptions regarding best practices and uses of assessment in a dental hygiene program at a small northwestern college. It was discovered that faculty in the program were assessing students in their clinical courses using widely varied methods, designs, and scoring tools. Faculty neither calibrated processes nor communicated about this problem. In addition, a review of the assessments in this local setting indicated a significant gap in the current guidelines for best practices in clinical assessment procedures. Knowles' adult learning theory served as the foundation for this study. Research questions were designed to obtain clinical faculty's perceptions of their knowledge of best practices in assessment, assessment design, methods including scoring tools, and how faculty could work collaboratively to implement clearly and consistently designed best-practice assessments in their clinical courses. Interviews and reviews of assessment documents were conducted with a purposeful sample of 8 faculty participants. Data were coded and analyzed for common themes. Results indicated that instructors did not collaborate and had little knowledge of assessment criteria based on best practices, administration, and scoring procedures. At the request of the dean, a position paper was created as a project. The paper outlined strategies for designing clinical skills assessments with criteria that is consistent, clear, and based on best practices. Also included were procedures for ongoing faculty professional development and collaboration, insuring that faculty are calibrated and that assessments are valid and reliable. The results of this study can promote positive social change as faculty in this program will be increasingly confident in assessment practices, and graduates will consistently provide greater quality patient and community care.