Correlation of the Entering GPA, DAT, PMAT and a Carving Test to Graduating Class Rank and GPA

Pink, Frank, Judy Kwapis-Jaeger, Lawrence Abbott, Margaret Coleman, Nahid Kashani, Jackson Linger, Durinda Mattana, and Kathi Shepherd

Purpose

To test whether entering GPA, the DAT, PMAT and a carving dexterity test correlated with final GPA and rank in class upon graduation.

The identification and development of hand skills has always been an issue in dental education. U.S dental schools use the PMAT of the DAT to assess potential hand skills, while Canadian schools and Louisiana State University also use a carving test for this purpose. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the DAT, PMAT and a carving test similar to that used by the CDA and LSU against graduating dental school performance. On the first day of class, first year students, without prior notice, carved a specific design into standardized sticks of soap. The carvings were evaluated by a team of 8 faculty who had been calibrated using the standardized criteria and format used by the CDA. The criteria used were flatness of straight planes, sharpness of angles, symmetry, and accuracy of overall reproduction. One pair of faculty evaluated the same criterion on each carving. Scores for each criterion were 0- 4. Graduating summary data of the class of 2004 (N=73) as measured by final GPA and rank in class, was correlated against entering GPA, the DAT, PMAT and this preadmission carving score. Data was then statistically analyzed using ANOVA, Kruskal- Wallis, regression, and correlation analyses. Entering cumulative GPA had a negligible 0.136 correlation with final rank in class. The DAT had a negligible correlation of 0.13 to final rank in class. The PMAT had no correlation with final class rank, (0.013). The carving test had a slight correlation value of 0.254 with final class rank. The data suggests that these pre-admission scores and a carving test could not predict final class rank for this class, although the carving test was a slightly better predictor of final performance than the others. These unexpected result warrant further investigation.