Mass communication majors and minors were quite confused upon checking their Degree Works page at the beginning of the semester.
An extra class was added to each student’s Blackboard profiles, raising many questions and concerns for faculty and students alike. No formal announcements were made, and even more so, a lot of faculty, when asked, did not even have answers themselves.
After a lot of grey area, an announcement on the class page stated, “all SHSU Mass Communication majors and minors are required to pass the Mass Communication Grammar Competency Test.”
“The mass communication curriculum committee wanted all students in the department to achieve a standard competency in the basics of grammar and style,” Ruth Massingill, associate professor of Mass Communication said. “In consultation with the chair of the department and faculty who teach writing class, the committee determined the best way to accomplish that goal would be to incorporate the modules into every section of MCOM 1332.”
The modules are a crucial part of the MCOM 1332, Writing for Mass Media’s curriculum, which is a required class for students in all four concentrations. The test’s main goal is to test student’s grammar and writing techniques while making sure their skills are on a college level.
This requires all students to pass the exam with a score of 80 percent or better. If the student does not pass on the first attempt he or she can try two more times. Students cannot enroll in upper level communication courses required for graduation until they pass the test.
“Successful communication in any medium requires a strong command of language, including grammar, punctuation and style,” Massingill said. “These have always been important components of classes in the Department of Mass Communication. The grammar and style modules were created to provide a standard level of competency for all mass communication majors and minors.”
The test is 55 questions, with a general completion time of 30 minutes to an hour, however there is no official time limit on the test. Students must complete the test in a proctored environment.