Critical thinking in dental students and experienced practitioners assessed by the health sciences reasoning test

John P. Hanlon, Thomas J. Prihoda, Ronald G. Verrett, John D. Jones, Stephan J. Haney, William D. Hendricson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To date, there has been a lack of published studies examining the validity of the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) to assess critical thinking among dental students. The aim of this study was to examine the construct validity of the HSRT using a novice-expert model consisting of first-year dental students as novices and experienced general dentists as experts. Novice cohort subjects were recruited from all 105 students in the first-year dental school class at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio during a regularly scheduled course in August 2015. A total of 83 students participated, for a 79% response rate. Thirty individuals personally recruited from the same school's faculty and from private practitioners made up the expert cohort. The results showed that the adjusted mean overall score for the expert cohort (25.31) was significantly higher than that of the novice cohort (22.64) (p=0.04). The expert cohort achieved higher adjusted mean scores in all scales (Induction, Deduction, Analysis, Inference, and Evaluation), with the difference in the Analysis scale being significant (p=0.02). In this study, experienced general dentists achieved significantly better overall scores on the HSRT as compared to first-year dental students, suggesting the instrument was able to measure differences between novice and expert. Further efforts to validate the instrument in a dental education setting and to understand its correlation with strategies and practices aimed at developing critical thinking in dental students are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-920
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Assessment
  • Critical thinking
  • Dental education
  • Educational measurement
  • Psychometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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