Educational Leadership Comprehensive Exams Information

Educational Leadership Comprehensive Exams Information

All candidates for licensure must pass a comprehensive exam near the end of their program.   The examination may be taken in the final semester of study or in the prior semester, so long as most of the required and foundations courses have been completed or are in process. Students must enroll in ELHE8100 (no credit, no tuition cost) during the semester in which they take the comprehensive and no student may take the exam unless they have an approved program of study on file prior to the examination.

The dates for the submission of the comprehensive examination are:

  • Fall semester, 2019: November 7, 2019
  • Spring semester, 2020: April 16, 2020

The goal of the exam is to demonstrate your knowledge of educational leadership in a substantive manner that integrates the coursework and experiences associated with your degree program. The knowledge base for the examination is, in general, the "core" and "foundations" courses, but you are also expected to reflect the other work you undertook toward your degree. You are expected to draw upon scholarship from these courses and other elective courses in your graduate studies. 

There are three versions of the examination. The sections below describe (a) the oral comprehensive examination for students completing the degree with licensure, (b) the written comprehensive examination for students completing the degree without licensure, and (c) the written comprehensive examination for students completing the dual degree in Law and Education.

 A)  Oral comprehensive examination for students completing the degree with licensure.

All candidates for licensure must pass an oral comprehensive exam at the end of their program.  The M.Ed./CAES licensure comprehensive exam consists of an oral presentation and defense of the student’s practicum portfolio and leadership platform as required in ELHE7952 Practicum in Principalship during the spring semester of their final year.

Five days prior to the oral comprehensive deadline, the student must submit one copy of the ELHE7952 Portfolio to the Seminar faculty member and one copy to the student’s Supervisor in the Practicum. This may be done electronically (e.g., google drive).

The portfolio and comprehensive oral examination is conducted by two examiners: an educational leadership faculty member and the mentor practitioner who supervised the student's practicum experience.  The examiners will choose four elements of the student's portfolio, one for each leadership standard. In an oral comprehensive examination, the student will be asked to respond to the following prompts:

  • How does this element of the portfolio represent your capacity to meet the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ licensure standards?
  • How was this experience informed by the theory and research in your coursework?

 To determine if the student is eligible for endorsement for principal licensure, each student's oral presentation is rated on a three-point scale (i.e. Exceptional Mastery, Mastery, Not Acceptable). Both examiners must rate the student at the mastery level or above in order for the student to pass.  In the event of divergent ratings, consensus must be reached between the two examiners.  If the candidate fails to achieve mastery, an additional faculty member will examine the candidate.

 B) Written comprehensive examination for students completing the degree without licensure

Students seeking a degree without licensure are asked to respond to the following prompt:

  • Drawing across your experiences in coursework, readings, assignments, and field experiences during your program of study, please address the following question:
  • How has this program influenced your perspectives and understanding about the role of educational institutions in society and the role of leadership in educational institutions?

In addition, students are asked to identify two artifacts (e.g., papers, projects, exams, blogs) that you generated in your coursework that illuminate your perspectives and understanding.  Please attach each artifact in an appendix to your examination paper and discuss these in your response to Prompt A.

C) Written comprehensive examination for students completing the dual degree in Law and Education.

Students enrolled in the Dual Degree Program in Law and Education are asked to respond to the following prompt:

a) How has this program influenced your perspectives and understanding of the relationship between the legal and educational systems? What readings contribute to your perspective?  How?

In addition, students are asked to identify two artifacts (e.g., papers, projects, exams, blogs) that you generated in your coursework that illuminate your perspectives and understanding.  Please attach each artifact in an appendix to your examination paper and discuss these in your response to Prompt A.

Components and process for the written comprehensive examination (Sections B & C)

  • All students must abide by Boston College’s Academic Integrity guidelines.  Do not consult with anyone or discuss the exam while engaged in its preparation. All work submitted must be authored solely by you. Cases of academic dishonesty will be handled and penalties applied accordingly.  http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/polisci/integrity.html

  • Your response to the prompt must be a maximum of 2,500 words. Artifacts in attached appendices should not exceed two and are not included in the word count for the exam.  Note the word count at the bottom right of the last page of the response to the exam prompts.

  • A reference list of at least ten references must be included in each examination; it does not count toward the word count.

  • The essays should follow the APA style and manuscript guidelines. (Legal material can be cited in the format acceptable for the Education Law and Public Policy course.) APA guidelines include double-spacing between all lines of the manuscript, uniform margins of 1 inch at the top, bottom, right, and left of every page, numbered pages and no more than 25 lines of text on an 8 1/2 X11 inch page.

  • Submit one copy of your exam with a cover page indicating your name and email address and two blind copies (no cover page; your name should not appear anywhere in the text).

  • Staple all copies submitted.

  • Completed exams (in hard copy) are due in Campion 205 no later than 10:00AM on the due date for that semester (see above). No late exams will be accepted.  Students who submit exams after the deadline will be asked to re-take the exam at another time.

  • Concerns about the exam should be directed to Associate Professor Martin Scanlan, Program Coordinator.

Scoring rubrics

The faculty will use the attached scoring rubric to evaluate your examination (see Attachment 1 for the Oral Comprehensive Examination and Attachment 2 for the Written Comprehensive Examination). Each student's examination is blind graded by 2 faculty members and is rated as Exceptional Mastery, Mastery, or Not Acceptable. Both examiners must rate the student at the mastery level or above in order for the student to pass.  In the event of divergent ratings, consensus must be reached between the two examiners.  If the candidate fails to achieve mastery, an additional faculty member will read the submitted exam.

Attachment 1: Scoring Rubric for Principal Licensure Oral Comprehensive Examination

 

COMMUNICATION

SUPPORT FROM COURSE READINGS

APPLICATION TO PRACTICE

Exceptional Mastery

Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills. Responds incisively to all the prompts.

Integrates a variety of course readings in substantial, well- chosen ways

Demonstrates insightful understanding and rationale for leadership behaviors and standards

Mastery

Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Responds well to all the prompts.

Integrates several course readings. Some weak or poorly chosen connections may be present but are rare.

Provides adequate understanding and rationale for leadership behaviors and standards

Not Acceptable

Weak communication and interpersonal skills. Fails to respond to the prompts.

References to readings, if any, are weak, irrelevant, or wrong. Overall gaps in knowledge evident

Unsophisticated understanding and rationale for leadership behaviors; rationales for practices are often inappropriate


Attachment 2: Scoring Rubric for Written Comprehensive Examination (for students completing the degree without licensure or completing the dual degree in Law and Education)

 

ANALYSIS AND COMMUNICATION

SUPPORT

APPLICATION TO PRACTICE

Exceptional Mastery

Responds incisively to all the prompts; Analysis relevant, sophisticated, and original. Logical sequence of paragraphs; Appropriate and clear transitions between sentences and paragraphs, excellent syntax.

Provides substantial, well--- chosen evidence, including several course readings used strategically.

Demonstrates insightful and well integrated understanding of leadership

expertise and decision- making behaviors

Mastery

Responds well to all the prompts;

Analysis goes beyond the obvious,

Distinct units of thought in paragraphs, coherently arranged; good transitions between sentences and paragraphs

Provides sufficient and appropriate evidence and makes effort to contextualize it through the course readings

Provides adequate evidence of leadership best practices and decision-making behaviors.

Not Acceptable

Confuses or misunderstands some significant

concepts, including some of those in

the prompts. Leaves out several of them, Repetitive, wanders, frequent major and minor grammar problems.

Evidence is anecdotal, awkwardly or incorrectly incorporated, or not cited at all

Unsophisticated or no understanding of leadership best practices and decision- making behaviors.