How are the NDEB’s Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge and Assessment of Clinical Judgement questions selected and what is test equating?


Questions used for each administration of the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge and the Assessment of Clinical Judgement are developed and reviewed by content experts. They are primarily members of Canadian dental faculties.

Next, a committee, consisting primarily of general dentists recommended by provincial dental regulatory authorities, selects the questions for use on an assessment. Different groups of questions are used each time the assessment is administered. The questions selected for each administration vary in difficulty, so the group of questions vary in difficulty from session to session, year-to-year.

Following the scanning of all answer score sheets, a detailed statistical analysis is performed by NDEB staff and chief examiners. This statistical analysis involves using valid methods to identify and possibly eliminate any questions that may not have performed as expected. Normally, very few questions are eliminated.

NDEB uses a scientifically proven test equating process to ensure that all administrations are of equivalent difficulty. This compensates for odds that a candidate’s success might be impacted by the varying degree of difficulty that can occur with the administration of each assessment and the potential, albeit low, for a question to perform weaker than expected.

Any proper high stakes testing organization in any profession uses test equating. It assures that the same level of performance from examinees is consistent test to test, year to year. In other words, it verifies fairness for all.