Adult, Higher, and Community Education Programs
at Ball State University
The Comprehensive Doctoral Exam in Adult, Higher, and Community Education
The comprehensive exam is a synthesizing experience, providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate academic and professional competency through written and oral expression. The exam process is designed to mirror the professional experiences and behaviors graduates of this program will be expected to demonstrate. The exam is a challenging series of important intellectual, evaluative, affective, and reflective experiences for students. Throughout the exam faculty members assist students in creating worthwhile learning experiences, culminating in useful products in which students and faculty may take justifiable pride.
A.) At the beginning of each academic year the Director of the doctoral program in Adult, Higher and Community Education will designate one week in each semester for doctoral students in the program to complete the written comprehensive exams. These exam periods will normally be the first full week in October for the fall semester, and the first full week in February for the spring semester, but are subject to change. Any deviation from this schedule will be announced early in each academic year. A student’s doctoral committee will constitute the examining committee for the comprehensive exams. Meetings for the oral comprehensive exams will be scheduled by each students’ respective doctoral committees in the third week following the written exam periods each semester.
B.) The written portion of the exam in the major.
1.) One month prior to the written exam period in which students are taking
their comprehensive exams, the doctoral students will be given one common
comprehensive exam question covering the research process.
2.) Also beginning one month prior to the written exam period students
will submit questions, written at the doctoral level of importance, to the
chairperson of his or her doctoral committee. The student will write one
question in three of the five themes listed below in step three. The chairperson
evaluates the questions and suggests possible changes that would, in the
judgment of the chairperson, strengthen the questions. After making any
revisions agreed upon by the candidate and chairperson, the chairperson
then shares the questions with the second member of the candidate’s
committee for suggestions and potential changes. When the candidate, the
chairperson, and the second committee member agree upon the exam questions
the candidate will be ready to complete the professional writing portion
of the comprehensive exam.
3.) Themes for questions in the writing portion.
a. Teaching and Learning
c. Trends and Issues
f. Ethics and/or Social Responsibility
4.) After the comprehensive questions are approved the student will write
the answers to the four questions during the week designated for completing
of the written comprehensive exams. Failure to complete the written exam
during the designated exam week will constitute a student failure of the
5.) Students are encouraged to follow APA format guidelines and keep each
essay between seven and ten double-spaced pages.
6.) Copies of the student’s responses are shared with all committee
members for their review and evaluation prior to the oral exam.
C.) The written portion of the exam in the cognate.
1.) Writing the questions and evaluating the responses of the cognate exam is negotiated between the student and the faculty cognate representative on the student’s doctoral committee. The volume of the work for the cognate exam should be roughly equal to one quarter of the volume of the work for the exam in the major area. Copies of the student’s responses are shared with all committee members for their review and evaluation prior to the oral exam.
D.) The oral portion of the exam.
1.) Once all written portions of the exam are completed at a satisfactory level, a two hour oral examination is held. Students are asked to elaborate on their written exams and are given an opportunity to correct deficiencies in the written exams as noted by examining committee members.
E.) Examination Completion.
1.) At the close of the oral exam the examining committee will vote to determine if the candidate has passed or failed the comprehensive exam. A student may pass the entire exam with one dissenting vote. However, if two or more committee members dissent, the student fails the entire exam.
2.) The examining committee chairperson will send written notification of the outcome of the comprehensive exam to the student and the dean of the graduate school after completion of the oral exam.
3.) A failure of the comprehensive exams is defined as one of the following: 1) a failure of the written portion of the exam; 2) a failure of the oral portion of the exam; or, 3) a failure of both the written and oral portion of the exam.
4.) A failed comprehensive exam may be repeated only one time. The student must wait a minimum of one semester before repeating the exam. The committee who administered the first exam will also administer the retest.
5.) A student who fails to pass the second exam is ineligible to continue and will be dismissed from the doctoral program.
Revised Fall 2007