Developing a competency-based curriculum for a dental hygiene program. Academic Article uri icon


  • A three-step process was used that involved developing a competency document, an evaluation plan, and a curriculum inventory. The competency document, Competencies for the Dental Hygienist, included three domains, nine major competencies, and fifty-four supporting competencies. These became the department's educational goals. The evaluation plan included multiple methods for assessing each of the nine major competencies. The faculty initially identified evaluation methods that were currently in place and then added strategies for the various gaps in the plan. The curriculum inventory defined the entire curriculum in terms of the competencies. For each supporting competency, there was a list of major and foundation topics, each linked to specific courses. The strategy used to identify both the evaluation methods and curriculum topics was to survey the faculty. Information from assessments and the curriculum inventory directed the modification of the curriculum for alignment with the competencies. This process has resulted in improvements in teaching, evaluation, and student learning. The strengths and weaknesses of this competency-based curriculum development are presented, with specific recommendations for other-programs undergoing similar curriculum development.

author list (cited authors)

  • DeWald, J. P., & McCann, A. L.

complete list of authors

  • DeWald, JP||McCann, AL

publication date

  • January 1999