The Integrated Dental Boards: What to Expect
The transition from the two-part NBDE test, to the INDBE, has seemed to disrupt the flow of dental school and is worrying students, prospective students, and administrators alike. We’re here to say “not to worry, it will all be alright,” but before we do that let us educate you on what this transition entails.
As we move into the Integrated Boards, the 5-year-5-attempts policy will still stand. During the transition students will either be allowed to take both parts separately, five times each, or the INDBE five times, depending on their preference. Once a student takes the INDBE they are no longer allowed to take the NBDE part I or II. Students who pass the NBDE II will also not be allowed to take the INDBE, this is being implemented for security reasons.
The dental class of 2022 is going to be the last class with the option of taking the NBDE parts I and II. Part I of testing will be discontinued on July 31, 2020. The second part of testing will be discontinued on July 31, 2022. The class of 2020 will be the first class to be able to take the INBDE, although many are opting for the later as it’s in familiar realms.
All of this being said the dates of implementation could still change. The board itself holds the right to change any dates at any time. The one thing that has been promised to not happen is that the date of discontinuation will be moved up. All dates are subject to running into difficulties, and certain scenarios will be left up to the discretion of the Joint Commission.
The big reason the boards have become integrated: the licensure of possible dentists depends on the score of their NBDE. Taking part of the NBDE after only two years of school allows for a lot of information to be lost before the second exam is taken. Putting both the exams together means the states will get a fuller picture of what the dentists actually know going into the real world practice.
There are plus sides to the length of the new integrated testing. The test is shorter, much shorter. The NBDE had about 450 items on each part of the test, concluding 900 items in total. The new integrated boards only have 300 to 450 items. The shorter test will mean it’s questions are more rigorous, but the length of testing will be less. The administration of the test will stay the same, staying at digital test centers across America.
As a dental student, there’s a chance to make a difference for those that will follow the soon-to-be-created dentistry path. Students, who register for the Part II of the NBDE, if eligible through their school, can opt to take the INBDE. These scores will not be reported to state boards or dental schools, it’s merely a way to see what needs improvement on the INBDE. Another plus side to this transition is that if a student is eligible for the NBDE part II and they opt to take the INBDE, they can take the INBDE five times, fail, and still be allowed to take the NBDE Part II. This is the only case where moving backward in the testing transition will be allowed, but these students are vital for making sure the test is up to standards for full release in 2022. One thing to keep in mind, if a student decides to take the INBDE instead of the NBDE part II, is that the NBDE Part I will not be counted towards the INBDE. Granted, the INBDE is just about the same number of questions, it’s another thing to consider when making a decision.
The Integrated Boards should be welcomed. Making sure dentists are qualified, right before they go into the field, is very important. It’s expected that the INDBE will also round out the curriculum in schools. Better prepared dentists will always be welcomed into the community, so we welcome the Integrated Boards just as warmly.