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Dental Assisting Educator

DANB recognizes the importance of strong communication with dental assisting program educators. Through our newsletters, mailings, surveys and updates, DANB aims to support you as a member of the dental community. If you are a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, you are automatically added to our mailing list. If you wish to order classroom giveaways such as pens, tote bags, and calendars or hard copies of DANB’s application packets for the NELDA, CDA, COA, CPFDA or CRFDA exams (also available online), please download the DANB Application Packets Request Form or DANB Materials Order Form

Educator Presentation

Program Performance Report

Upon request, DANB provides tailored performance reports for dental assisting programs. You may request a performance report for your dental assisting program for a particular time frame by submitting a completed Program Performance Report Request. (Requests must be in writing; DANB does not accept requests over the phone.)

DANB’s Program Performance Report Request (PDF) 

Dental Assisting Students

Services for Your Students

Your students may apply for DANB’s exams as a group instead of individually. Download and review the form below to ensure efficient processing of your group testing request. If a current student would like to take a DANB exam prior to graduation, you must submit an Intent to Graduate Letter on his or her behalf.

DANB Group Testing Form (PDF) 
DANB’s Intent to Graduate Letter Instructions (PDF) 

Educator FAQs

  • Does DANB release copies of old exams?

    For several reasons, DANB does not release copies of its old exams. Primarily, DANB strives to maintain the integrity of its exams, which are developed according to strict content requirements. However, DANB does offer exam blueprints, which are outlines of the content that may be covered on DANB exams. In addition, the DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, offers practice tests for both the RHS and ICE exams. Developed by respected educators and based on DANB’s exam outlines, the DALE Foundation’s DANB RHS Practice Test and DANB ICE Practice Test each include 200 sample questions* and answers, as well as sample tests* and different options for feedback.

    *Questions are not from actual DANB exams.

  • Why does DANB charge an application processing fee?

    This fee covers the intensive exam application review process, which is critical in determining which candidates are eligible to sit for a DANB exam.

  • Why is it that DANB test questions do not address the new topics that dental assisting programs are required to teach?

    DANB’s exams are intended to test national dental assisting basic knowledge and techniques practiced in the dental setting. Dental assisting programs cover new and emerging topics, sometimes with greater emphasis on state-allowed functions. Certification exams, which are often used to meet a state’s licensure or registration requirements, or to meet other job requirements in a state, focus on the established, job-related procedures practiced nationally. This is true for all certification exams, not only those for dental assistants.

  • How are passing standards set?

    Passing standards, or cut scores, are based on content, not percentage of correct answers. The DANB Board of Directors has adopted a nationally accepted, psychometrically sound standard-setting process that requires candidates to answer test items correctly at or above certain levels of difficulty across content areas. A different standard is set for each exam, based upon required content.

    DANB’s national exams are computer adaptive tests (CATs). CATs are designed so that candidates answer questions based on level of ability. Each DANB national exam is composed of an item bank, and each question in the item bank has a measure of difficulty. Measures of difficulty are determined after questions are pretested. Each year a certain percentage of the questions on DANB’s national exams are pretest questions. Pretest questions do not count toward a candidate’s pass/fail status; instead, they help determine whether questions are performing properly. After DANB determines that a question is performing properly, it is made “live” and added to the pool of questions for future exams.

    During a CAT, candidates are given questions based on their abilities as well as on the blueprint of the exam. Candidates first receive a question at or near the difficulty level required to pass that exam. If a candidate answers a question correctly, the next question will be a little harder. If this question is answered correctly, the next one is a little harder, and so forth. If a candidate answers a question incorrectly, the next question is a little easier.

    Through this process, a candidate’s ability level is determined. This level must be at or above the pass point, which is determined by DANB’s Exam Committees and approved by the DANB Board of Directors. All candidates must receive the same percentage of questions covering each content area. This percentage is determined by conducting a content validation study and developing an exam blueprint, which is approved by the DANB Board of Directors. All candidates receive the same number of questions. For example, all candidates who take DANB’s RHS exam will answer 100 questions based on the RHS exam blueprint.

    Valid standard-setting procedures are, by their nature, highly technical, statistical processes. DANB’s national exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which determined that DANB’s psychometric processes are appropriate and yield valid, reliable exam results.

  • What are Program Performance Reports?

    Program Performance Reports (PPRs) are mailed to CODA-accredited dental assisting programs twice each year. The first report goes out in July/August and includes results from January to June. The second report is issued in January/February and includes the results from January to December of the previous year. Any group with a DANB school code may request a PPR at any time during the year, for any time frame.

    PPRs include the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE) and General Chairside Assisting (GC) exam results. The program director will be able to see when an exam was taken, whether CDA certification was earned, the graduation year, the home state, and the status and score on each of the component exams. Exam candidates are only identified by DANB ID, not by name or Social Security number. The average performances for the CODA-accredited programs in the same state, all CODA-accredited programs and other candidates are provided for comparison.

    To meet national confidentiality guidelines for exam candidates, the names of students are not provided if there are fewer than five students.

  • How should my students interpret their sub-content area performance results?

    DANB provides three descriptions for sub-content area performance: low average, average and high average. DANB highly recommends further study in areas in which the candidate received a low average score, and recommends review of areas in which the candidate received an average or high average result. When determining which areas to study further, it is important to consider both the sub-content area result and its percentage of the overall test. For example, if sub-content area A covers 35 percent of the exam and the result is average, and sub-content area B covers five percent of the exam and the result is low average, it would be advantageous to review both areas but to focus on subtest A since it contains more questions and leaves the candidate more room for improvement.

    Sub-content area performance results are provided to help candidates focus on areas in which they received relatively low scores. When sub-content area results are calculated, only the questions from that sub-content area are considered in the scoring formula.

    However, because of exam reliability considerations, a pass/fail decision is made on the exam as a whole so that performance on all sub-content areas together is considered. When DANB calculates sub-content area results, we do not take into consideration the percentages of each sub-content area. That is, there is no weighting of sub-content areas involved in the determination of low average, average and high average. Each sub-content area is evaluated independently to determine these comparative candidate ratings.

The DALE Foundation's Review Courses

The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, offers e-learning review courses! The DANB RHS Review, the DANB RHS Practice Test, and the DANB ICE Review are just a few of the DALE Foundation's excellent exam prep tools and classroom supplements.

The DALE Foundation

Please Stay in Touch!

DANB values the importance of communicating with dental assisting educators. If you are already on our Program Director mailing list but need to update your contact information, please download one of our forms below.

CODA Update Form (PDF) 

Voc-Tech Update Form (PDF) 

High School Program Reporting and Update Form (PDF)