Part 7: Preliminary Examinations Of Mis-Education

 

The nightmare of mis-education for students within the Atlanta University (Clark Atlanta University) Political Science Department continues as the student moves to take the preliminary exams. Courses of study that claim to be designed to uplift Black people present the ironic conclusions of mental breakdowns, confusion, destruction, manipulation and the false reality of assimilation into the mainstream.

 

At the completion of all required courses in 1981 I prepared for the next step. The next step in completing the degree requirements and/or becoming a candidate for the doctoral degree in Political Science is the successful completion of the comprehensive exams. My observation of students that were preparing for (and those that had completed the exams) the comprehensive exams noted the following: (1) the examination process was mentally and physically exhausting. The process involved eight hours of writing in each area of concentration. The process would take seven days. (2) All students were very apprehensive about taking the exams. Students would often postpone taking the exams for a year and even longer, and there was an extreme fear of failure. In many cases the apprehension was so great that many students never took the exams. (3) Many students failed the exams. Therefore, repeating the process caused ongoing psychological problems and many students developed a history of mental breakdowns.

 

I took the comprehensive examinations during the spring of 1982. The oral phase of this process is administered after the written phase. During the oral phase, I was informed that I had failed two exams out of four, African Politics and Public Administration. Departmental policy noted that any student that failed more than one exam would be required to re-write all four exams.

 

My review and analysis of the exams in question noted the following: (1) African Politics. I had limited personal contact (the instructor's personal assessment) with the instructor. Thus, the exam questions related to African Politics where I had little or no previous courses of study. (2) Public Administration. This area was very confusing. When I wrote, the exam I responded (in writing) to the questions on the exam. Meanwhile, the instructor referred to a specific question and answer. Professor George Kugblenu clearly noted that I should have responded to a concern that was not involved in the question. It was not possible for me to respond to this specific concern because it was not included in the question.

Thus, I concluded that I had not failed the exam. Therefore, it would be unjust to require me to complete the entire process. The department had a built-in grievance process to deal with such concerns. At this point I did not know that I was the first student to file a grievance regarding the comprehensive and oral exams. My letter to the Preliminary Examination Appeal Committee noted the following:

 

"After having a conference with Professor George Kugblenu, the examiner in Public Administration, it is my decision that I have grounds for an appeal. A review of the answers that I recorded during the comprehensive examination written by Professor George Kugblenu exposed me to concerns that were not stated in the questions. Since I can only respond to what is asked in a question, I feel that I was not given a fair examination.

 

Also I would like to inform the Appeal Board of the untimely manner in which I was allowed a reading list for the Public Administration exam. I had previously asked Professor Irvin Brown to write my exam and furnish me with a reading list, which I thought was standard procedure. I made this request in June 1981. I returned to Atlanta November 1981, and Professor Brown once again told me that he would mail the reading list to me.

 

In December 1981 I concluded that Professor Brown was not interested in writing the exam because he had not followed through with providing me with a reading list. Thus, prior to the end of the fall semester 1981, I asked Professor Kugblenu to write the exam. Professor Kugblenu also promised to mail me a reading list. Professor Kugblenu did eventually respond. He provided a reading list two weeks prior to the examination held April 5, 1982.

 

I am not sure of the connection of these events and how the examiner (George Kugblenu) graded my exam. I am sure of the following. I am not a resident of Georgia. I have a family and their general welfare is a constant concern of mine. Having to repeat the complex and time-consuming examination process administered by the A.U. Department of Political Science is a total violation of any rights I have left. Please be certain to note that I take this position because I believe that other forces guided Professor Kugblenu when he maintained my failure on his exam.

 

I appreciate any consideration given to me by the Board of Appeals. I trust that the basic mis-understanding presently existing can be dealt with so that my basic rights of equal opportunity will not be denied. I hope that the Appeal Board will respond in a timely manner. Also I hope that all parties concerned will agree as to the seriousness of this matter."

 

The Grievance Committee ruled favorably in that I would have to repeat only the two exams in question and not all four exams. I eventually rewrote both exams. Soon after writing the exams I was informed that I had passed the exam in African Politics. I also asked the instructor in Public Administration (George Kugblenu) about my status. I was informed that I would have to talk with the Chairman of the Political Science Department William Boone. Therefore Professor Kugblenu called Professor Boone from his office while I was present. In this telephone conversation Professor Boone informed me that I would have to write the Public Administration exam a third time because the second exam I was given was the wrong exam. It was on a Wednesday and I would be required to rewrite the exam on Friday. On Friday I rewrote the exam for the third time successfully and became a candidate for a doctoral degree in Political Science.

 

By this time I was certain that the department had some very serious problems. In numerous instances they contradicted their role as educators and caretakers of students' educational development. Any confidence I had in the staff of the Political Science Department at Clark Atlanta University had diminished. My only wish was to finish this last requirement and get back to the business of providing for my wife and two children.

 

The following questions are posed in an attempt to gain more clarity about the system of mis-education at Clark Atlanta University. How many students in the history of the Clark Atlanta University Political Science Department have dropped out at the preliminary exam phase? Do students in the Political Science Department at Clark Atlanta University take an average of ten or more years to complete degree requirements? Will student records show a change in the time taken for completing degree requirements during any particular time period? How can you determine if students are graduating at a normal rate? Is there a great or marked difference in the number of students that finished the department after the appeals made by this writer? What is the utility of student records complied by the registrarís office in determining inconsistencies in students' completing degree requirements in a timely manner?

 

 

 

 

 


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