Comprehensive Examinations

The Educational Administration Program written comprehensive examinations are a degree requirement for all graduate and post graduate programs in educational administration. It constitutes a comprehensive scholarly amalgamation of one's personal and professional knowledge base in educational administration as evidenced by effective written communication skills. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required for any individual desiring a graduate degree or initial certification in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Comprehensive Examination FAQ's

When are the comprehensive examinations offered?

The examinations are offered once during the fall and spring semesters as well as summer session during each academic year on-line through Desire 2 Learn.

Summer 2016 Comprehensive Exam Dates

July 1, 2016 to July 15, 2016

How many times may one take the examination?

There is no limit. There are, however, time lines that one must wait to retake the examination until successful completion:

  • First Attempt: Before taking the comps, one must have completed a minimum of 2/3 of the coursework in one's "certification only" program.
  • Second Attempt: Next offering
  • Third Attempt: Minimum wait of one semester and then the next offering
  • Subsequent Attempt(s): Minimum wait of one year for each unsuccessful attempt and then the next offering

Must one register for the examination?

Yes, one must pre-register for the examination by contacting the Educational Leadership office.

How does one prepare to take the examination?

Study all degree program materials and textbooks. Become familiar with referenced and supportive knowledge base resources.

What are writing presentation requirements?

  • Use of only complete sentences and paragraphs, no outlines
  • No contractions or trendy language
  • No discriminatory language
  • APA style of referencing and acronym usage
  • Proper tense and personage usage
  • Give supporting evidence of knowledge

How might a sample paragraph of the examination response look?

The theoretical aspects of a teacher's annual performance determination are based upon both a theoretical and summative evaluation process (Sergiovanni, 1999). Yet, realistically, teaching and curriculum are inseparable issues as suggested by Eisner in 1991. Thus, an amalgamation technique of clinical supervision of teachers (Acheson & Gall, 1992) appears to be the most efficacious model for the newly employed principal charged with improving teacher performance in the lowest achieving building in the district by the superintendent.

How often do candidates pass the examination on the first attempt?

Generally 3/4 of candidates pass the examination on the first attempt. The key to passing the examination on the first attempt is to study for the examination and practice writing. Those who take the examination lightly and do not prepare almost always end up retaking it.

What are suggestions for taking the examination?

There are six (6) questions and a case study to the comprehensive examination

Each question should be responded to based upon one's field of specialization (e.g. Principal, Superintendent, School Business Administrator, Director of Instruction, Director of Special Education).

The examination consist of two parts - Part A Questions and Part B Case Study or Mathematical Problem.

The length of the examination is a maximum of 3 hours.


1. Each question has two (2) response components:

a. "KNOWLEDGE" as a Reflective Scholar Constructivist
b. "SKILL" as a Knowledge Based Decision Maker

2. Responses are assessed according to: 

a. evaluation of information; 
b. synthesis of information and problem solving; and, 
c. analysis of information and decision making. 

3. Each of the six (6) questions are anchored in one of the six (6) Wisconsin Administrative Standards (WAS) Standards.