Guidelines for Contributors

Style

The Journal of the National College Testing Association (JNCTA) has adopted as its official guide the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), current edition, and all manuscripts should conform with this guide before they are submitted. Papers should be typed left-justified in a common 12-point font (e.g., Times or Times New Roman), double-spaced, on letter-sized paper, with 1" margins. All submissions must include a title page and an abstract of two hundred words or less summarizing the main points of the article. Each page, including the title page and the abstract page, should contain a header with the running head (i.e., an abbreviated title that is printed at the top of the pages of the manuscript to identify the article for readers) and the page number. Because the journal's readers represent a variety of professional interests, it is recommended that any statistical material be presented as simply as possible and assuming little background knowledge. Descriptions of the methodology should be provided in sufficient detail as to allow readers the opportunity to replicate it on their own.

Illustrations

Figures/illustrations must be provided at size—no larger than 8½ x 11 inches (full page) and preferably no larger than 4¼ x 5½ inches (half page) and as high-quality PDF files. Figures/illustrations should be prepared in black & white, unless color is essential in helping to communicate the information. All illustrations must have captions, which should not appear on the artwork but should be typed, double-spaced, on a page at the end of the manuscript. Authors are encouraged to consult the APA Publication Manual for further information on preparing illustrations and captions.

References

Authors should employ a Reference List format to list bibliographic data. Endnotes should be reserved for supplementary comment and typed on a separate page at the end of the manuscript.

Manuscript Length

Authors should be aware that, with occasional exceptions, manuscripts in the JNCTA average between 25 and 35 pages (prepared to conform to the style guidelines detailed above), inclusive of tables, figures, and references.

Manuscript Preparation

The pages of the manuscript should be arranged as follows:

  • The first page of the manuscript must be a title page which includes the following: the title of the manuscript; the name, title, professional affiliation, and email address of all authors; and a running head and the page number (which should be included on all subsequent pages). In the case of multiple authors, one author must be designated as the point of contact. The first author will be assumed to be the point of contact unless otherwise specified.
  • The second page of the manuscript should include the abstract and a list of 3-5 keywords. The manuscript's title should appear at the top of the abstract, but the author(s) should not be identified.
  • The manuscript text should begin on page 3.
  • At the end of the manuscript, the references, tables, figures, and appendices should be included. Each new section should begin on its own page.

Manuscript Submission

Manuscripts should be sent as an MS Word document (.doc) to the Editor of the journal at journal@ncta-testing.org. Images should be attached to the email submission as separate PDF files, with each image in its own file. For papers with more than one author, one individual must be designated as the point of contact for all correspondence. The first author will be assumed to be the point of contact unless otherwise specified. Prior to submitting the manuscript, please remove all references to the author(s) from the manuscript (except on the title page) so that it may be reviewed blind. Authors should also mask any items of self-reference where they appear, unless doing so would make it easier to disclose the authors' identities. Authors must not submit a manuscript that is still under consideration by another publisher.

Manuscripts that have been revised and resubmitted should be accompanied by a letter responding to the Editor's comments and detailing the changes that were made to the manuscript.

Review Process

All submitted manuscripts will be subjected to an initial Editorial screening to ensure compliance with the Editorial policies of the journal. Authors will be notified if their manuscript fails to meet the basic criteria for peer review. All manuscripts that are appropriate for review will be reviewed blind by at least two reviewers. For this reason, authors' names and affiliations should not appear on any page except the title page, which will be removed prior to review. The results of the peer review will be transmitted to the authors along with any Editorial feedback and the decision.

Criteria for Selection

The JNCTA includes articles that focus on the trends, practices, research, programs, policies, and activities related to examination development and administration. Papers are evaluated on the following points:

  • Content: significance to JNCTA readers.
  • Form: writing style and readability, logical development, appropriate length, appropriateness of author's stated objectives to treatment as defined below.
  • Additional criteria are based upon the following manuscript orientations: as a research paper, as a technical paper, as a professional practice paper, as a literature review, and as a policy paper.

It should also be emphasized that the Editor will respond most favorably to manuscripts that are in congruence with the publishing goals and directions of the JNCTA.

Upon receiving the recommendations of reviewers, the Editor will report a decision to the author, including reasons for the decision and the comments of reviewers.

Editorial Decisions

Upon receiving the recommendations from the reviewers, the Editor will make a decision on the status of the article. Manuscripts will either be accepted without revision, conditionally accepted with revision, rejected with encouragement to revise and resubmit, or rejected. The Editor will communicate the decision and the underlying rationale for that decision to the author. When an article is accepted, it will be added to the publication queue and will be inserted into an issue of the JNCTA based on the order in which it was accepted.

Proofs

Authors will receive a proof copy of their accepted article, typically within one month of its final acceptance. Authors should review the proof and correct any errors made by the printer. Corrected proofs should be returned within one week of receipt. Authors should always keep for themselves a copy of the article submitted for purposes of comparison. No other substantial changes can be allowed at this stage, and if there is undue delay in returning the proofs, it may be necessary to proceed with publication without incorporating the corrections.