Comprehensive Exams


A final Comprehensive Examination Process is required of all students who desire a Masters degree in Special Education (Generalist). The comprehensive process is mostly structured around specific assignments that you complete in each course, and that you upload to your iWebfolio account as part of that coursework. When you finally sign up for your comprehensive examination at the end of your program, there will be a formal review of all of your artifacts. Final reviews can result in a “Pass” or “Fail” depending on the completeness and quality of your work.

The material below provides you with some general guidelines for setting up and maintaining your iWebFolio during your program, and for completing the final comprehensive examination process in your last semester. Sections in this document include: (a) setting up an iWebFolio account; (b) required artifacts; (c) securing permission to take the examination; (d) the comprehensive examination process; and (e) schedule and deadlines.

Setting up an iWebFolio Account

Each student must have an iWebFolio account. You must set this up when you first begin our program, because you will be entering artifacts for each course that you take. If you have not already done so, go to visit the IWebfolio site to set up you account.

Required Artifacts

For each course that you take, there will be a specific assignment that becomes an artifact in your iwebFolio. You will be asked to upload this particular assignment onto your iWebFolio, where your course instructor will review it. This review, conducted when you are completing the course, will consist of two parts. First, the course instructor will review it for an assignment grade that will then be used as part of your grade for the course. Second and finally, he or she will review it using the rubric that is at the course link within your iWebFolio. It is this second review that is critical for the comprehensive examination.
When the course instructor has completed the iWebFolio review, and you have proficient or higher in all categories, then this artifact is “ready,” and it needs no further work on your part. However, if there are any scores on the rubric that are below proficient, then you will need to work with that course instructor to revise your work, then have it re-evaluated by him or her, and so on, until you have scores of proficient or higher for that artifact. There is no time deadline on this latter process, but the sooner that you can get it done, the better it will be for you in the long run. At the very least, this process must be completed during the semester in which you are formally taking your comprehensive examination.

Along with course artifacts, there are several non-course artifacts that you will need to develop and add to your iWebFolio. These, plus all of the course artifacts, are shown in Table 1, below.

Table 1. Complete List of Required Artifacts

Course-based Artifacts

  • Educational Philosophy (EDSE 510)
  • Collaborative Notebook (EDSE 511)
  • IEP (EDSE 512)
  • Case Study Summary (EDSE 613)
  • Behavior Plan (EDSE 614)
  • Case Study (EDSE 616)
  • Lesson Plans (EDSE 617)
  • Work Sample (EDSE 618)
  • Learning Strategy (EDSE 619)
  • Midterm Progress Report (EDSE 693)

Noncourse Artifacts

  • Biography or Resume
  • Picture (optional)
  • Generalist PLACE results, including sub-scales, showing that you have passed


Securing Permission to Take the Examination

You must complete and send to your advisor a Permission to Take Comprehensive Exam form before you are eligible to pursue your comprehensive examination process. This must be done either during the semester previous to the examination, or within a short time after the semester begins in which you plan to complete the exam process. See the schedule in the last section of this document for upcoming deadlines.

The Comprehensive Examination Process

When you have signed up for the examination, and during the semester in which you are completing this process, you will be sent very specific instructions and a timeline that you must follow. However, for your information, the general steps in the process consist of : (a) giving permission for all course instructors in the generalist program to review your iWebFolio; (b) an intensive review of your iWebFolio by you and your advisor, (c) a process of working with various course instructors and/or your advisor if there are missing artifacts, or if there exist artifacts in which you have scores that are less than proficient, (d) a final review by you and your advisor, (e) a final assessment by one or more members of our department in which you will receive a pass or fail score, and (f) the reporting process, which includes a letter to you.

You will PASS the comprehensive examination process if all of your artifacts are present, and if you receive at least “proficient” in all categories on the rubrics associated with each course. (If there is more than one scored rubric for any given artifact, you must have proficient or higher on the last rubric that was completed.)

You will FAIL the comprehensive examination process if there are any missing artifacts, if there are artifacts that have scores of less than proficient on the final round of rubric evaluations, or if you did not pass the licensure test. If you fail, then you will need to re-apply to complete the iWebFolio comprehensive examination in a subsequent semester, and you will need to complete what remains to be done.

Schedule and Deadlines

Table 2 Current Comprehensive Examination Deadline

Applications due into advisor
Examination process begins
Examination process ends
Results Reported to Graduate School
Fall 2014 Sep 5 Sep 8 Oct 28 Nov 14
Spring 2015 Jan 24 Jan 26 Mar 23 April 10
Summer 2015 May 22 May 25 June 26 July 10