Western Kentucky University

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

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Policy on Administration of Comprehensive Examinations for the Master of Arts in Education

Approved: 08/16/06
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

 

Programs included in this policy:

  • Elementary Education P-5, including endorsements in Computer Science, Reading and Writing, Gifted Education, English as a Second Language, and Instructional Computer Technology
  • Middle Grades Education, including endorsements in Computer Science, Reading and Writing, Gifted Education, English as a Second Language, and Instructional Computer Technology
  • Exceptional Education
  • Educational Administration
  • General Education
  • Education and Behavioral Science Studies
  • School Counseling (Elementary and Secondary)
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Student Affairs
  • Secondary Education, including endorsements in Computer Science, Reading and Writing, Gifted Education, English as a Second Language, and Instructional Computer Technology
    Agriculture Minor, Art Major or Minor, Biology Major or Minor, Business/Marketing Minor, Chemistry Major or Minor, English Minor, Family & Consumer Sciences Minor, Geography Minor, Health Minor, History Major or Minor, Math Minor, Modern Languages Minor, Music Major, Physical Education Minor, Physics Minor

Qualifications to take the Comprehensive Examination

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Education must meet the following requirements in order to take the comprehensive examination:

  1. Be admitted to candidacy (i.e., have filed Form D in Graduate Studies at least one semester prior to taking the examination);
  2. Have completed any required research tool (e.g., EDFN 500) and/or specified research course(s) on the program of study;
  3. Be in the last semester of the degree program or have completed all content course work associated with the program;
  4. Have completed any additional courses or experiences required by the candidate's program; and
  5. Have applied by the specified deadline to take the comprehensive examination and received written approval from the Dean's Office, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

A student who has a question about his or her eligibility to take the comprehensive examination should contact the program advisor or department head. Final decisions about eligibility are made by the Dean's Office, in consultation with the department head and program advisor.

Examination Schedule

The comprehensive examination is administered in a group setting during the fall, spring, and summer terms on a date designated by the Dean's Office, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. Typically the exam is scheduled for administration around mid-term; it is given on a Saturday morning from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Central Time. Students who have extenuating circumstances may request an alternate administration date by contacting their program advisors; however, it may not be possible to grant the student's request for an alternate administration date.

Application Process and Deadline

1. During registration for the last semester of course work the student checks the schedule bulletin for the date of the comprehensive examination and the deadline for receipt of applications.

2. The student obtains an application form and cover letter from the department office for his or her program. At that time, the student should also request information about preparing for the comprehensive examination; assistance may include such things as distributing sample questions, offering study tips, scheduling study sessions, and so forth.

3. The student completes the application and submits it by the deadline to the Dean's Office in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

4. If the student has met all qualifications (see above), the application will be approved and forwarded to the departmental office for the student's program. The office associate in that department will notify the student that his or her application has been approved, and the program faculty will prepare an appropriate exam for the student to take on the scheduled date.

Examination Location

The comprehensive examination is administered in a designated room in Gary A. Ransdell Hall on the scheduled date. The letter sent by the department to notify the student that his or her application has been approved will also indicate the room number in Gary A. Ransdell Hall where the student is scheduled to write the examination.

Examination Procedures

  • Examination administration will begin promptly at 9:00 AM and will last until 12:00 PM Central Time. As a rule, students who are tardy will not be allowed to write the examination; however, exceptions may be granted in extraordinary circumstances. In such cases the student will not be granted extra time past 12:00 PM.
  • Pencils and paper will be provided. Dictionaries (including electronic), thesauri, and calculators are permitted. Laptop computers, recording devices, class notes, prepared notes/outlines, and/or books (including textbooks) may not be used and must not be brought into the testing area.
  • Test-takers must turn off or deactivate cell phones, pagers, wristwatch alarms, and other alarm devices before entering the testing area.
  • Neither food nor beverages are permitted in the testing area.
  • No breaks are provided; however, test-takers may be excused to leave the room for restroom breaks if needed.
  • Except in the case of a verified disability (see below), test-takers may not receive any oral or written assistance in taking the examination. They may not contact or work with other persons during the examination. They may not make or receive phone calls during the examination.

Disability Accommodations

Accommodations will be made for students with verified disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodations for taking the comprehensive exam must contact the Office for Student Disability Services in DUC A-200. The OFSDS telephone number is (270) 745-5004 V/TDD. Students should not request accommodations from the CEBS Dean's Office without a letter from the Office for Student Disability Services. Persons designated to assist test-takers who have disabilities are expected to follow the same standards of conduct as test-takers.

Preparation for the Examination

Students should contact their advisors for assistance in preparing for the comprehensive examination. Assistance provided by the program faculty may include distributing sample questions, offering study tips, scheduling study sessions, and so forth.

Examination Administration and Scoring

Comprehensive examinations will be administered and scored by program faculty.

Academic Integrity

The highest standards of professional, personal and intellectual standards of integrity are expected of all candidates for the Master of Arts in Education. In accordance with university policy as stated in the Student Handbook, students who engage in acts of academic dishonesty while preparing for or taking the comprehensive exam will be severely sanctioned. The following information is quoted from the Student Handbook:

"The maintenance of academic integrity is of fundamental importance to the University. Thus it should be clearly understood that acts of plagiarism or any other form of cheating will not be tolerated and that anyone committing such acts risks punishment of a serious nature.

"Academic Dishonesty - Students who commit any act of academic dishonesty may receive from the instructor a failing grade in that portion of the course work in which the act is detected or a failing grade in a course without possibility of withdrawal. The faculty member may also present the case to the Office of Student Life for disciplinary sanctions. A student who believes a faculty member has dealt unfairly with him/her in a course involving academic dishonesty may seek relief through the Student Complaint Procedure.

"Plagiarism - To represent written work taken from another source as one's own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense. The academic work of a student must be his/herown. One must give any author credit for source material borrowed from him/her. To lift content directly from a source without giving credit is a flagrant act. To present a borrowed passage without reference to the source after having changed a few words is also plagiarism.

"Cheating - No student shall receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in taking an examination or in the preparation of an essay, laboratory report, problem assignment or other project which is submitted for purposes of grade determination.

"Other Types of Academic Dishonesty - Other types of academic offenses, such as the theft or sale of tests, should be reported to the Office of Student Life for disciplinary sanction."

Notification of Examination Results

As soon as program faculty complete the scoring of comprehensive examinations, the office associate in that program or the program advisor will notify students. In addition, the office of Graduate Studies will be informed of the names of those students who have passed the comprehensive examination. In most cases the process of scoring and notification takes 2-3 weeks.

Questions about Examination Results

Students with questions about their performance on the comprehensive examination should contact their program advisors.

Repeating the Examination Following Failing Performance

A student who does not pass a specific portion or portions of the comprehensive examination may request to be re-tested on the portion(s) that he or she failed. If the student fails to write a satisfactory answer to a comprehensive examination question, the student may apply to be allowed to write an answer to a different question that addresses the same material or content.

A student who receives notification that he or she has not passed the comprehensive examination should contact his or her advisor to discover the date when a make-up examination will be administered and to learn the procedure for requesting to repeat a portion of the comprehensive examination. In most cases a make-up date will be scheduled during the same semester. However, if the student chooses, he or she may apply to re-take the examination in the subsequent semester. Regardless of when the retest is scheduled, the student is responsible for seeking assistance from the program advisor to remediate deficiencies before repeating the failed portion of the examination.

One retest is allowed in the same semester in which the candidate originally writes the comprehensive exam. A student who does not pass the retest should consult the department head or program coordinator, who will recommend a strategy for remediation, such as enrolling in additional coursework for credit or audit, reading additional materials, etc. The candidate may then apply for another retest in the subsequent semester.

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 Last Modified 8/5/13