The Effect of COVID-19 on Senior Dental Students Performance in a Pediatric Dentistry Course
Author(s): Ayman M Sulimany*
Introduction: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a huge impact on dental education. Dental schools have developed new strategies to confine its transmission. In this study, we aimed to assess the impact of these strategies on senior dental students’ performance in a pediatric dentistry course at King Saud University. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the records of a pediatric clinical course offered to senior students for three different academic years from before, during, and after the COVID-19 outbreak. The outcome measure was students’ performance in the form of average grades and number of dental procedures performed. A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed to assess the differences in students’ performance by academic years. The analysis was also stratified by gender to assess whether the outcome variables differ by gender. Results: The number of dental procedures performed decreased significantly between the academic year before the COVID-19 outbreak and the academic year after the outbreak (p-value <0.0001). There was a statistically significant reduction in the students’ average grades across the academic years (p-value <0.0001). Stratification analysis by gender showed that a significant reduction in grades was only noticed among female students (p <0.0001). Conclusion: The COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant changes in teaching methods, especially for dental students. Our study demonstrates that academic performance was significantly affected by the newly adopted strategies. Our findings highlight the need to develop better teaching modalities that ensure students’ preparedness for their future careers while maintaining their safety from infection.