506 Dental Admission Test (DAT): Do Test Preparation Programs Work?

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
K.P. JOHNSON, M.W. WOOLFOLK, K.B. MAY, and M.R. INGLEHART, Academic Affairs, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Objectives: Increasing the number of pre doctoral dental students from disadvantaged backgrounds is a challenge for many dental schools. One question in this context is whether enrichment programs for predental students could be successful in making these candidates more competitive in the admission process. The purpose of this study was to explore whether a test preparation program administered during a summer enrichment program actually succeeds in increasing the applicants' PAT and academic achievement scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT).

Methods: Data were collected from 361 predental students who participated in a summer enrichment program between 1994 to 2011. All students took a Kaplan DAT preparation course. In addition, 70 students voluntarily reported their official DAT scores. 

Results: A comparison of the DAT - PAT scores and the DAT - academic achievement scores assessed at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the summer enrichment program showed that overall the scores had improved (PAT: 14.40 vs. 17.09 vs. 17.84; p<.001; academic achievement: 13.53 vs. 14.09 vs. 15.12; p<.001). The comparsion of the scores assessed at the beginning of the program with the official scores also showed a significant increase (PAT: 14.42 vs. 16.15; p<.001; academic achievement: 13.61 vs. 16.23; p<.001). Comparisons for each of the years showed that the changes were significant for each of the years.

Conclusions: Efforts to increase the percentages of pre doctoral dental students from disadvantaged backgrounds need to begin with enrichment program efforts before these students approach the admissions process. Test preparation programs are successful in improving these students' DAT scores and thus in making them more competitive in the admission process.

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source: HCOP D18HP13634

Keywords: Access, Assessment, Education research, Evaluation and Learning