Overview

Comprehensive Exam: Student Qualification

Composition of the Committee

Student Responsibilities

Description of Comprehensive Exams

Evaluation of Written Comprehensive Exams

Oral Comprehensive Evaluation

Final Evaluation of Comprehensive Exams

Overview

Students can complete their comprehensive examinations during any semester, but they must seek approval the semester before they wish to take the examinations.  The Student Services Office in the College of Education provides the dates of scheduled examinations.  The necessary forms to register for the exams can be obtained at the same office.  Each exam is three hours in length, for a total of 9-12 hours.  Students must be registered for classes during the semester that comprehensive examinations are taken.

Comprehensive Exam: Student Qualification

The advisor will determine student readiness for the comprehensive examinations based on the following criteria:

  1. The School Psychology faculty review of the year proceeding the date of the comprehensive examinations indicated satisfactory progress.
  2. The student has completed all required course work with the exception of the dissertation and internship credits.
  3. The student completed the Preliminary Research Project the semester prior to the semester in which the comprehensive exam would be taken.

If a student wishes to take the comprehensive examinations without having satisfied the aforementioned criteria, he or she may petition the School Psychology faculty for a waiver of that requirement.

Composition of the Committee

The student's chair is responsible for approving the composition of the comprehensive examination committee.  Standard practice in the School Psychology Program is that the student's advisor serves as chair of the committee that reads the comprehensive examinations; in the case that the advisor is clinical faculty, one other School Psychology faculty must serve as co-chair.  A minimum of 5 members is required, which must be constituted as follows:

  1. Chair or co-chair: School Psychology faculty
  2. An additional School Psychology faculty member
  3. One faculty member from the College of Education
  4. One faculty member to write in the minor area (if elected)
  5. One other faculty member (preferably P & Q Division) 

Student Responsibilities

Description of Comprehensive Exams

The student is responsible for the following:

  1. Apply for comprehensive examinations within the Office of Student Services, and comply with all deadlines and procedures provided by this Office consistent with Graduate School policy.
  2. Ask all approved committee members whether they will serve on the committee and whether they wish to write examination questions or only read responses.  Note that not all faculty members are available during summer months (and may be on leave during a spring or fall semester).
  3. Consult with each committee member individually concerning preparation for comprehensive examinations.  Lists of suggested readings might be obtained from individual committee members.  Such lists, however, are meant to be suggestive, and not inclusive, in nature.
  4. Schedule a meeting with the advisor/chair after the written examination to go over committee responses.
  5. Schedule the oral examination with committee members, preferably within 2-3 weeks of the written examination.

Evaluation of Written Comprehensive Exams

The student's committee members will read the written examination and evaluate each response as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  This evaluation should be completed within ten days of the written examination.

The criteria for evaluation of responses include the following:

  1. adequacy of student's knowledge base
  2. familiarity with empirical findings
  3. order and logic of thinking and presentation
  4. synthesis and integration of materials and ideas 

Oral Comprehensive Evaluation

All doctoral students participate in an oral examination after the written portion of the comprehensive process.  The advisor will summarize the ratings of all committee members. In the event that a student has failed to achieve a satisfactory rating on all parts of the examination, the student's committee will determine the extent of further examination.

The function of the oral examination is to allow the student's committee to determine his or her competence across a variety of areas.  As is stated in the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, it is "intended to evaluate the candidate's formal preparation."  The purpose of this examination, therefore, is not limited to providing students a second chance to respond adequately to the questions presented in the written comprehensive examination.  All domains of school psychology may be covered by questions from the student's committee during the oral examination period, which typically lasts no more than two hours.

Final Evaluation of Comprehensive Exams

The final evaluation of the comprehensive examination—both written and oral portions—occurs after the oral examination.  This evaluation will be conducted according to the rules and regulations of the Graduate College as follows:

1) The comprehensive examination will be evaluated by a convened meeting of the committee and reported as satisfactory, satisfactory with reservations, or unsatisfactory to the Graduate College within fourteen days after the completion of the examination.  Two unsatisfactory votes will produce a committee decision of unsatisfactory.

2) In the event of a report with two or more votes of satisfactory with reservations, the exact stipulations of the committee shall be recorded with the report form.  If the stipulations involve further examination in a particular area of study, the statement should be specific in defining the area, in requiring additional courses or other procedures, and in specifying the time and method of satisfying the stipulation.  The candidate will not be admitted to the final oral examination until such stipulations have been satisfied.  The executive of the major department should promptly send a written report to the Graduate College giving date of removal of reservations.

3) In case of a report of unsatisfactory on a comprehensive examination, the committee may grant the candidate permission to present him or herself for reexamination no sooner than four months after the first examination.  The examination may be repeated only once, at the option of the department.