Part 4. MA Comps

From spring term 2009 until spring term 2010, 15 students took the MA comps for the MA program in Holistic and Integrative Education. Of the 15 students, 14 (93%) passed on the first attempt and 1 (7%) passed on the second attempt. Below is a sample of one of the exams. It should be noted that the questions are geared to evaluate the effectiveness of the major goals of the program (see part 1).

MA in Education; Holistic and Integrative Education
Master's Comprehensive Exam
Sample

  1. Describe your vision of education, including:
    1. A metaphor that captures the essence of your vision of education. Your description needs to include an explanation of the significance of the metaphor.
    2. Identify five to twelve essential principles/assumptions concerning the process of education that underlie your vision of education. For each principle/assumption explain your rationale for identifying the principle/assumption as essential.
    3. Your answers to 1(a) and (b), especially 1(b), need to be supported by references to theories, concepts, etc. from your course work and readings in education, including at least two of the following:
      • Principles of brain-based research (e.g., Caine and Crowell)
      • Constructivism or cognitive developmental theory (e.g., Vigotsky; nonroutine problems)
      • Holistic education (e.g., Nava, Miller or Kessler)
      • Postmodernist versus modernist paradigm (e.g., Doll)
      • Critical pedagogy (e.g., Wink).
         
  2. Outline a curricular unit that you have implemented or would implement if permitted. The unit should cover at least the equivalent of two week’s time (e.g., 50 minutes a day; ten days) and can be a content unit (e.g., areas and volume; civil war) or theme (the season spring; community service).
    Your outline should include:
     
    • Basic information concerning the unit, including goals, length, content, and characteristics of the students and context.
    • A clear sense of the specifics of how the unit will be organized, process provisions, and instructional strategies, as well as a sense of the day to day activities.
    • A rationale for the unit and the approach and how the implementation is consistent with your vision of education.

      In addition, your unit should integrate at least two of the following goals or strategies:
       
    • Addresses the theme of the four seasons.
    • Focuses on improving problem solving or critical thinking skills.
    • Actively involves the local community as a resource for the unit.
    • Effectively integrates significant student input.
    • Integrates cooperative group activities.
    • Increases the students’ appreciation of diversity.

       
  3. Describe an inservice presentation you would conduct, including:
    • Basic information concerning the presentation, including goals, length, content, and characteristics of the professional setting and context.
    • A clear sense of the specifics of how the presentation would be organized, process provisions, and instructional strategies, as well as a sense of the activities of the presentation.
    • A rationale for the presentation and the approach and how the implementation is consistent with your vision of education.

       

The rubric for grading each question will be:

A grade of 1 indicates little or no acceptable descriptions or rationales.

A grade of 2 indicates some, but minimal descriptions or rationales.

A grade of 3 indicates clear, adequate and appropriate descriptions or rationales.

A grade of 4 indicates clear, detailed and appropriate descriptions or rationales, as well as a clear connection between answers to various subparts of the question.

A grade of 3 or 4 is needed for each question to pass.