Evaluation of postgraduate dental specialty residents: a survey of program directors.
ABSTRACT The professional dental literature is lacking in information concerning the use of technology in evaluation procedures utilized in postgraduate dental education. The purpose of this study was to identify the methods of evaluation of U.S. postgraduate specialty residents currently in place. The study also sought to determine if there were any patterns among programs more likely to utilize electronic submission in the evaluation process. An electronic survey consisting of eighteen questions was sent to the program directors of all accredited U.S. dental specialty programs (n=416). The survey yielded 150 responses, for a 36 percent response rate. The results showed that the majority of responding program directors (68 percent) evaluate their residents using a hardcopy evaluation instrument, while a minority of directors (32 percent) reported using an electronic evaluation instrument. The majority of respondents (58 percent) said they require faculty members to formally evaluate residents semiannually. Fifty percent of responding program directors reported a need for improvement in their current evaluation system. Those reporting a need for improvement were less likely to be using an electronic format. There was no statistical significance between faculty responsiveness and the mode of evaluation used. With many program directors reporting room for improvement in their current evaluation system, innovation in the evaluation systems of postgraduate dental education is needed.