Welcome to the Dental Board of California

Portfolio Assessment Concept

Licensure of dentists practicing in the State of California has been one of the primary duties of the Dental Board of California (Board) and has its roots imbedded in the Dental Practice Act which charges the Board to test candidates for minimum competency to insure public protection. It prescribes for a written and clinical examination and asks for an acceptable clinical performance in a given time period on both patients and mannequins. The California Clinical Examination, and as of late, the Western Regional Board Examination for the most part have mimicked the other stand alone Regional examinations in their content. All have evolved over the years with constant changes to better address questions of relevancy, competency, fairness and bias. The changes continue today with calls for a National examination that would be universally accepted by all the States.

In January of 2007, the Board initiated the process of reevaluating the California Clinical Examination, and working with the five dental schools in California (University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; Loma Linda University; University of the Pacific; and the University of Southern California), started to explore alternative methods of assessing a dental school candidate for licensure. The Portfolio Assessment was born out of the desire to eliminate the need to give a stand alone exam to those student candidates who could meet the requirements set by the Board. While this new type of assessment would exceed the present requirements for testing on patients, it is also based on achieving a required number of Clinical Experiences. The required Clinical Experiences in diagnosis and treatment planning, periodontics, direct and indirect restorative, prosthodontics, and endodontics, will be tested on patients of record in the five dental schools by way of Competency Examinations with oversight by the Board. Calibration, standardization, verification and cooperation will be important components of this new and novel approach to assessing candidates.

Before the Board went into sunset in July 2008, it unanimously passed the Portfolio Assessment Concept and directed staff to have it evaluated by testing experts before writing the legislation needed for implementation. The first phase of the process is complete and concluded that a Hybrid Portfolio is a viable pathway to qualify for licensure in California.

The second phase of the process is the development of the methodology to implement the Hybrid Portfolio Pathway Examination to Qualify for a California Dental License, which will be completed in September of 2009. Legislation has been introduced in the California State Assembly to establish by law the Hybrid Portfolio as an alternative pathway to licensure in California.

It is a very exciting time to be part of this dynamic and evolving process.