An Integrated Curriculum: Evolution, Evaluation, and Future Direction

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Journal of Dental Education





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The topic of curriculum reform has received an enormous amount of attention in the field of dental education. While recently established dental schools benefit from the evolution Of Curriculum change and innovation in constructing their new curricula, these advantages can become lost if the curriculum is not assessed to ascertain the degree to which the curriculum accurately reflects the initial intended goals. The purpose of this educational research project was to evaluate a dental school curriculum to determine the extent of vertical and horizontal integration originally intended. After a faculty retreat that presented a historical perspective and prevalent concepts of the definitions of an integrated curriculum, a survey instrument was distributed to all course directors asking them to assign each of their courses to one of ten established models of integration. Analysis of the survey results allowed the mapping of each of the eighty-four courses to four themes of integration. Chi-square analysis demonstrated courses were distributed in a classic bell-shaped Curve along the integration continuum. Dental school year 4 courses mapped to the highest levels of integration, while no courses were assigned to the lowest level (fragment or silo model). All courses were found to have at least some level of integration. More than half (n=43) were found to be both horizontally and vertically integrated.


integration; curriculum reform; dental education; curriculum evaluation

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