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A Scoring System for Assessing Learning Progression of Dental Students’ Clinical Skills Using Haptic Virtual Workstations

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Accepted/In press7 Sep 2017
E-pub ahead of print1 Mar 2018
PublishedMar 2018


King's Authors


The aim of this study was to develop and test a scoring system to assess the learning progression of novice dental students using haptic virtual workstations. For the study, 101 first-year dental students at a UK dental school conducted one practice task (task 1) and four simulated cavity removal tasks (tasks 2–5) of increasing difficulty over two laboratory sessions in 2015. Performance data on the students’ attempts were recorded as haptic technology-enhanced learning (hapTEL) log-files showing the percentage of caries, healthy tissue, and pulp removed. On-screen results were photographed and submitted by the students to the tutors. A scoring system named the Accuracy of Caries Excavation (ACE) score was devised to score these results and achieve an even distribution of scores and a calculated combined score. A total of 127 individual logged attempts by 80% of the students over sessions 1 and 2 were recorded and submitted to the tutors. The mean ACE scores for both sessions for tasks 2 through 5 were 9.2, 11.6, 6.4, and 4.9, respectively; for Session 2 (tasks 3–5), scores were 12.4, 6.7, and 5.0, respectively (p<0.001). The average performance on task 3, which was attempted in similar numbers during both sessions, improved from the first to the second session (8.14 vs. 12.38; p=0.009). Using the HapTEL system in a first-year BDS curriculum improved the students’ performance of simulated cavity preparation after practicing over two sessions. Use of the ACE scoring system enabled tutors to make consistent assessments across a large student cohort and provided an objective method of formative assessment.

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