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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


VAHED, A  and  ALLY, F. Examining the relationship between Dental Technology students' learning styles and their performance in entrance tests. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2020, vol.75, n.2, pp.67-71. ISSN 0375-1562.

INTRODUCTION: Selection tests provide early indications of prospective students' competencies, skills and knowledge. Knowledge of students' learning styles and their correlation to entrance tests can contribute to the debate on student retention and attrition rates in higher education, which have been dominant research focus areas in the past decade. AIM AND OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relationship between Dental Technology students' learning styles and their performance in entrance tests at the Durban University of Technology. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study design within a quantitative framework was used. METHODS: The 2019 first year students completed the VARK® questionnaire, which was used to determine their learning styles. The VARK results were compared against the data obtained from entrance tests. Cross tabulations and Fisher's Exact tests (p<0.05) were used to analyse the data. RESULTS: Despite there being no correlation between students' performances in entrance tests and their preferred learning styles, the most dominant learning styles among Dental Technology first year students were unimodal (kinaesthetic) and quadrimodal (VARK). CONCLUSIONS: This evidence-based data is critical in developing more appropriate student selection and placement tests for the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Dental Technology, and other similar programmes.

Keywords : VARK; learning styles; Dental Technology; selection tests.

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