July 21, 2010

Dental hygiene graduates pass board exam

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For the second year in a row, every single graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Dental Hygiene Program taking the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination passed the test.

The 35 graduates who took the test not only passed the exam, but they did so with flying colors.

“All 35 students passed with an average score of 86.6. The national average for the test was a score of 81.8. The SIUC student average was 4.8 percentage points higher than the national average,” said Dr. Dwayne Summers, associate clinical professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Program.

Summers said the SIUC students also scored above national averages on all 13 disciplines tested as well as on case-based items.

All 30 of the 2009 graduates of the SIUC Dental Hygiene Program taking the exam passed it. The pass rate was 90 percent in 2008 and 91 percent in 2007, the year a board review class, now updated annually, became part of the SIUC curriculum. In addition, in recent years students benefitted from additional hands-on learning through more clinic time.

In addition to providing dental hygiene services at the Community Dental Center on the SIUC campus, dental hygiene students and faculty provide community clinics periodically at locations throughout the region, providing free or low-cost dental care.

The Dental Hygiene Program is part of the School of Allied Health within the University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts. The bachelor’s degree program includes general education classes the first year followed by a three-year dental hygiene profession sequence.