Failing the Comprehensive Exam

What Can I Do When I am At-Risk for Failing the Comprehensive Examination and I Know it?

The comprehensive examination can be failed either when work is missing, when certain products are inadequate, or when an overall proficiency score of 108 is not realized across the artifact rubrics of the six content courses. Each of these is discussed in turn.


Missing Work

When the student meets with his/her academic advisor -- by phone or in person -- immediately before starting the comprehensive examination process, the advisor can give assurances regarding what is proficient, and can give guidance with respect to what is not. However, in terms of missing artifacts, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that all products are uploaded onto the EDSE 999 course environment. Any missing products at the time the comprehensive examination material is evaluated by the Program Coordinator for completeness and proficiency simply means failure.

Certain Products Are Inadequate

There are two products that are either adequate or inadequate, and when either of these two artifacts are inadequate, the student fails the comprehensive examination process. The first is the IEP Proficiency Demonstration. As noted earlier in this document, if you finish the EDSE 512 class with "all proficient" on the IEP rubric, then posting the IEP document and its rubric is all that is required of you to pass with this artifact. However, as noted previously, if there are gaps in performance when you exit this class, and these gaps are reflected in your IEP rubric score, then you will need to fill these gaps or complete a new IEP and have it evaluated. In both of these cases, you will need to post a new rubric, together with the relevant IEP, completing this work as described previously in this document. You are encouraged to use the 8-week period between the time your comprehensive examination semester begins and the time your comprehensive examination portfolio will be evaluated by the Program Coordinator to complete this activity. You can talk to your academic advisor for further details and guidance.

The second and last artifact that must be adequate to pass is the Mid-term Practicum Progress Report. If you are keeping up with your practicum activities and meeting submission deadlines for your material, then you will experience "proficient" on this document. The exception is when you are having a significantly difficult time in your practicum, ether for reasons associated with quality of teaching, or "disposition" issues identified by your cooperating teacher or university consultant. In either of these two situations, you may wish to discontinue the comprehensive examination process for the remainder of the semester, then re-take it in the next semester. Talk to your academic advisor if you find yourself in this situation.

Proficiency Score

A Proficiency Score Total that is less than 108 for the Six Content Courses

If there are several content courses in which there are low proficiency scores, and the result is a total combined score of less than 108 across the six content courses, you will be required to complete a written essay exam for either one or two of these courses. The course or courses in which you had the lowest proficiency ratings will be targeted for these essays. The topic(s) of the essay(s) will be determined by your academic advisor, working with the person or persons most responsible for maintaining and updating the course or courses (i.e., "course anchors") in which you did poorly, and they will be designed based on reviewing your rubric(s) in that course or in those courses. Each essay must have between 12 and 15 pages of narrative, and include at least eight relevant references that are journal references (not websites). The essay or essays are to be written in the 8-week period between the time this semester begins and the time of the comprehensive examination evaluation by the Program Coordinator. The essay or essays are posted by you, the student, at the artifact site(s) where proficiency was not met by the original product(s).

The content of your essay or essays will then be evaluated by the Program Coordinator, in collaboration with course anchor(s). If an essay receives a "pass" from the Program Coordinator, the score on that course artifact increases to "proficient" for that artifact, and that will be the score used by the Program Coordinator when determining whether a total score of 108 is realized. If an essay receives a "fail" from the Program Coordinator, the score on that course artifact remains what is was before the essay was added.

The number of essays a student completes will never be more than two. The advisor has full authority to choose which course artifact(s) require an essay, when essays are needed. This is not a student choice. At the same time, if the student has a score of 108 or higher when the rubric scores are added together, no essay will ever be required.

If I fail my comprehensive exam, can I re-take it?

View comprehensive exam retake instructions.