How is the test designed?

The exam requires written essay responses to four of five scenarios during a 2 1/2 hour period. Each scenario presents a situation in one of these areas:

  • Content, writing and editing;
  • Graphics, design and production;
  • Staff and administration relationships;
  • Business and advertising; and
  • Legal and ethical issues. (This question will be required as one of your four.)

The respondent will rely on years of experience (minimum five years required) and background knowledge of journalism (CJE status required) to develop a solution for each situation. Thus, the MJE exam is not designed to test specifically for a body of knowledge, though the applicant is expected to provide specifics to support the answers. Rather, the exam is designed to challenge the applicant to apply his/her journalism knowledge in developing a solution to a situation.

How can I prepare for the exam?

The Certification Committee has no specific suggestions for studying for this exam. Rather, the committee expects that MJE applicants will have kept abreast of current trends and developments in journalism education and will be able to call upon this knowledge in developing responses. However, a brief listing of law cases which may be useful to know for the legal and ethical issues portion of the exam is included to help you prepare. In addition, knowledge of specific law cases affecting scholastic journalism will be useful for the legal and ethical issues portion of the exam.

Sample Scenario

A school yearbook, newspaper or broadcast reporter (select one) is writing a wrap-up article about the girls' volleyball season. The team has a new coach with no experience in volleyball. The team wins no games during the season. The reporter interviews five team members who say, in different ways, the coach could have done a better job and with adequate coaching the team could have had a winning season.

In counseling this student about the reporting process, what advice would you provide to ensure the finished article thoroughly and fairly records the situation?

How will this exam be evaluated?

A panel of judges, working independently, will score each response holistically. Judges will not be informed who took the exams.
Each answer could be worth up to four points. Judges may award scores which include a fraction of a point. You must receive an average of 75 percent (the equivalent of a "good"rating) overall to successfully pass the exam. Each of your questions will be evaluated on a scale of 0-4.

Irrelevant (0)Unsatisfactory (1)Minimum Competency (2)Good (3)Excellent (4)
No Essentials. No details. Presentation and organization is not relevant. General incorrect material.Most essentials are omitted. Details are limited. Presentation and organization is possibly weak/unclear. Possibly one or two content errors or misconceptions.Some essentials are covered. Details are limited. Presentation and organization is readable/weak. At most one error or misconceptions.Essentials are mostly covered. Details are adequate. Presentation and organization is generally clear. No content errors or misconceptions.Essentials are all covered. Details are strong. Presentation and organization is very clear/logical. No content errors or misconceptions.

Sample answers scored with the rubric

How will the test be administered?

The exam will be scheduled from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Friday at the spring and fall JEA/NSPA conventions during the Write-off Contests. A study session will be held at 2:30 p.m. for those wanting to participate.
You will have 2 1/2 hours to take the exam.

When will I receive my results?

You will be informed of your exam results 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 written analysis of the responses the judges considered unsatisfactory.

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