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Vision 2022: The Future of the NDEB Equivalency Process

Summarize the three changes to the Equivalency Process

In February, the NDEB announced its multi-stage plan to modify the existing Equivalency Process for graduates of non-accredited dental programs while preserving the fairness, validity, and reliability of its examinations.

The first step in the plan was to reduce the number of questions on the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK) to 200. This change will be implemented for the August 2021 AFK.

The second step is an update to eligibility for the examinations in the Equivalency Process. Effective January 1, 2022, the examinations in the Equivalency Process will need to be completed in order, first the AFK, then the Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ), then the Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS). This change is being made to align the testing with the principle that individuals must demonstrate that they have clinical judgement prior to performing technical skills on patients, especially irreversible dental procedures.

The third step involves the ACS. Currently, the ACS can be taken a maximum of three times. Examinees can fail one of 12 requirements and still pass the examination. In the updated Equivalency Process model, an examinee will be able to take the new ACS an unlimited number of times. However, they will not be permitted to fail any requirements. This is a significant change from the existing structure. The new ACS will introduce new requirements that will test skills required for general practitioner dentists.

Also introduced in the updated Equivalency Process is the ability for examinees who previously failed the ACS three times, to restart the Equivalency Process. This will involve the examinee repeating and passing each of the examinations in the Equivalency Process. Examinees will be able to cycle through the Equivalency Process a maximum of two times.

To assist examinees in determining how these changes will affect them, we have developed a series of FAQs that can be found on our website. These FAQs address questions about eligibility, re-application to the process, and the modified ACS.

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