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Frequently Asked Questions

Certified Journalism Educator

What are some resources I can use to help me prepare for the test?

Websites

Visit the JEA Bookstore to get these — and other — resources.

  • Law of the Student Press. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: Student Press Law Center, 2013
  • Newspaper Guidebook, National Scholastic Press Association
  • Yearbook Guidebook, National Scholastic Press Association
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law

What should I expect when I take the exam?

In the week prior to your scheduled test date, you will be instructed about joining the course in the exam program.

You must bring your own laptop that has internet accessibility. You will not be permitted to use notes or other resource materials.

The exam is taken online at the testing site under the supervision of a Certification Committee proctor. A study session at which testing strategies are discussed is offered at many test sites prior to the exam.

The exam has three types of questions, which correspond to the 11 modules of the JEA Curriculum: multiple choice, fill in the blank and short-answer. You will be able to answer most of the short answer questions in 3-4 sentences, and you may use bullet points as appropriate. You will have 2.5 hours to complete the 100-point exam, so please plan accordingly.

In writing your answers, do not use your name, the name of your school or any other form of identification of yourself or your program. Evaluators should not be able to determine who you are based on your answers; such answers will be invalidated.

More than one evaluator will be involved in scoring your answers. Consequently, each answer must be able to stand alone. Do not refer to your statements in a previous question when answering another question. The rubric and sample answers provided should help you better understand an appropriate length for your responses.

Who will score my exam?

Members of the JEA Certification Committee will serve as the board of evaluators for the exam. The multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions are worth one point each. The short answer questions are worth two points, and partial points are awarded for partially correct responses. Of all the questions, the law and ethics questions are more heavily weighted. At least two evaluators will independently read your answers, and answers will be scored holistically. The rubric and sample answers included below represent the scoring criteria.

.5
1
1.5
2
A significant part of the answer is incorrect; several misconceptions exist; answers concepts with limited detail, examples, support; critical components of the answer are missing; response is unclear and wordy Some of the answer is correct; at most one misconception or error exists; answers some key concepts with limited detail, examples, support; more than one critical component of the answer is missing; response is generally unclear and wordy Entire answer is correct; no misconceptions exist; answers most key concepts with adequate detail, examples, support; a critical component of the answer is missing; response is generally
logical, clear and concise
Entire answer is correct; no misconceptions exist; thoroughly answers all key concepts with strong detail, examples, support; response is logical, clear and concise

Sample answers scored with the rubric

Question 1:
1. List two ways students can use (1) photos that will not violate copyright laws (if they are producing a newspaper, yearbook or online news site) OR (2) music that does not violate copyright laws (if they are producing a broadcast or online news site). Choose to answer either option 1 or option 2.

Answers:

2 points:
For either … get specific written permission from the copyright owner.
1. Use photos from government sites (FEMA, for instance), use photos from Creative Commons sites, take their own photos.
2. Create their own music (using something like GarageBand), use only a small portion of a song under fair use (e.g. if you are indicating the top five songs selected for the prom theme, you could use a short clip of each).

1.5 points:
For either … get specific written permission from the copyright owner.
1. Use photos from government sites, use photos from free websites, take their own photos.
2. Create their own music, use only a small portion of a song.

1 point:
1. Use non-copyrighted photos, use your own photos.
2. Use a small portion of a song.

.5 point:
1. Use your own photos.
2. Use your own music.

Question 2:
How have reporting and the role of reporters changed in the last 20 years?Answers:

Full credit — The economy and the demand today’s audience has for more visual and interactive presentations have led to changes in coverage and presentation. Backpack journalism means reporting is more efficient and reporters often need to be able to use video, audio and still photography to augment their reporting. To be successful, reporters need to be multimedia literate and deliver stories across platforms, including such emerging venues as Twitter and blogs, sometimes a challenging expectation. In addition, the 24-hour news cycle means constant deadlines and a need to be both fast and accurate and willing to update continually.

1.5 points —  Reporters are faced with learning new technologies and delivering information in new ways like websites. They may be required to deliver stories not only in their newspapers but also on television and websites. This means they have to learn how to use new equipment and software (and quickly) because of a 24-hour news cycle.

1 point —  Reporters are using new technologies to combine different kinds of journalism. A reporter may not just write a story but he may also have visuals and audio to go with it. News cycles have changed so reporters have to file stories more frequently.

.5 point — Reporting and the role of reporters have changed a lot in the last 20 years. With changes in technology, reporters’ roles are easier and they actually do less of the work themselves. [Second sentence of answer is incorrect/has a misconception.]

How are the points totaled, and how do I earn a passing score?

The exam program automatically scores your multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank responses, but this is no indicator of your passing/failing the exam as the remainder of the scoring is done by evaluators.

NOTE: The Journalism Education Association’s primary mission is to support journalism teachers and advisers. The Certification Committee believes that support is rooted in a comprehensive exam measuring basic knowledge and application of the JEA teaching standards. Of those, the law and ethics standards are the foundation upon which all scholastic journalism programs are built. Therefore, those questions on this exam are more heavily weighted.

In addition, the Committee has determined that passing the law and ethics questions is essential for earning Certification. Candidates must score 75 percent or higher from the law and ethics questions to pass. Your cumulative score must also be 75 percent or higher to earn Certification.

What if I don’t pass the law and ethics part but score well on everything else?

You may take an alternate version of the law and ethics questions within one year. You will not have to retake the other parts of the test if you earned a 75 percent or higher in those areas; however, if you fail the rest of the exam and score higher than 75 percent on the law and ethics exam, you must retake the entire exam.

When will I receive my results?

You will receive the results of the exam and your CJE status within six to eight weeks after you take the exam. You will not receive your scored answers. If you do not pass the exam, you will receive a list of specific areas in which your answers were not satisfactory and in which you need additional study.

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