Frustration

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Frustration

Postby nosborne48 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:59 pm

Gevalt!

So I took my final exams for the first trimester at the local university and...

They lost the exam answer sheets. The local university, not Taft.

I'm not kidding. HOURS of sweat, blood, toil and tears (and an awful sinkng feeling) and they can't figure out what happened to my answers.

If Taft can't find my answer sheets, what ahould happen? SHould they assume I passed? Or make me retake? Or what? I put a solid YEAR into these classes.

I think that I should get the grades I got for the coursework. But will they DO that?
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Re: Frustration

Postby Hungry Ghost » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:09 pm

nosborne48 wrote:Gevalt!

So I took my final exams for the first trimester at the local university and...

They lost the exam answer sheets. The local university, not Taft.

I'm not kidding. HOURS of sweat, blood, toil and tears (and an awful sinkng feeling) and they can't figure out what happened to my answers.

Wow, Nosborne! That's a problem with DL that I wouldn't have expected. Proctors losing your exam! You must be awfully down.
If Taft can't find my answer sheets, what ahould happen? SHould they assume I passed? Or make me retake? Or what? I put a solid YEAR into these classes.

I've never experienced this. The school that proctored you will verify what happened, right? You did everything you were supposed to do and the screwups weren't your fault.
I think that I should get the grades I got for the coursework. But will they DO that?

You need to be talking to them. Your idea does sound like the easiest thing for everybody. But my guess (and it's only that) is that Taft will give you a time extension and require you to retake the exam.

This sounds like an awfully frustrating hassle. My sympathy is with you, Nosborne.
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Re: Frustration

Postby Jonathan Whatley » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:20 pm

Maybe they could substitute some examination in an alternative form that wouldn't repeat the entire burden again, like a voce-by-phone based on your coursework and/or the contents of the missing exam?

Count my fingers crossed, of course, that they'll find it yet...
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Re: Frustration

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:34 pm

I heard from Taft today. They want to wait another week. What for, I don't know, since I first wrote the exams on July 7th. Maybe they think the mail went by way of Mexico City?

The biggest problem with retaking is that the "local" university really isn't so local. I have to take a full day off work and drive to El Paso. It's damned inconvenient especially since, as I say, this isn't my fault.
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Re: Frustration

Postby Jonathan Whatley » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:16 pm

Maybe you could find a local community college or extension campus or library or office of the court or something acceptable to Taft? Especially now with this strike against the El Paso school.
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Re: Frustration

Postby nosborne48 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:30 pm

Taft says that if the exams haven't appeared by tomorrow, the 25th, the Dean will decide what's to be done.

There is a second consortium college in the area that I can use, El Paso Community College, but it's still in El Paso, not Las Cruces and the hours are even less convenient.

I suppose that, if the school says I have to retake the exams, I will do so if for no other reason than I need the resulting CPE credits. Besides, I don't think I really have much choice in the matter. I wonder of UTEP will agree to waive the usual exam fees since it seems that they lost the last packet? But I don't really know that; the fault might lie with the U.S. Postal Service. Or, I suppose, with the mail room at Taft Law. How can I know for sure?
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Re: Frustration

Postby David » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:37 pm

I have a couple of thoughts on your dilemma. The first is that your plight causes me to rethink a fantasy I entertain in times of conflict. Which is if I was an attorney I'd sue the bejesus out of <whomever> and/or make life miserable by tying them up in court … well, forever. I guess there are some situations where even if you are an attorney lawsuit isn't a good idea. The second comes from decades of functioning within hospital bureaucracy. I've discovered that on those few occasions I have to take a problem to a chief it pays to present them with a solution. My thoughts in this situation run to suggesting to the Dean something like a policy that proctor facilities are required to make and hold copies. By handing him a solution to a vexing problem and simplifying his job maybe, just maybe, he'll cut you some slack and go with the coursework grad
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Re: Frustration

Postby vinny123 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:53 pm

Nosborne, IMO you have fulfilled your responsibility to prepare and take the exam and if it is eventually determined that the exam is irretrievably lost I would not repeat the exam and would take a firm stand against doing so if this is the dean's decision. The fact that the school/proctor lost your exam answer sheet is their problem, not yours and they need to own the problem. An option is for you to discuss this matter with the administrator responsible for overseeing the proctoring of the exam and if necessary with the President of the school, clearly placing the onus on them leading to their contacting the Dean of Taft on your behalf to request a feasible alternative to repeating the exam. In addition you may wish to speak directly to the Dean of Taft and explain that you have worked etremely hard to pass this exam and to repeat this exam would be unduly difficult and quite frankly can be perceived as being punitive! My gut feeling is that if you take a polite but assertive stand you may be able to negotiate a fair alternative rather than repeating this exam. IMO it may be a good idea to pre-emptively contact the Dean of Taft to discuss this matter prior to his reaching a final determination.
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Re: Frustration Resolved! Sort of...

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:56 pm

Vinny,

Taft, it appears, agrees with you. The school sent me an e mail this morning saying that they'd consulted with their accreditation agency (DETC) and decided to waive the final exams for these two courses altogether. My coursework grades will become my final grades.

That's good.

But I mentioned that the exams were hard for me. Actually passing would have built a bit of confidence. Oh, well, tax exams are ALWAYS hard for me yet in the past I have never failed one.

I'm enrolling for the second trimester in the next day or so.
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Re: Frustration Resolved! Sort of...

Postby Hungry Ghost » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:28 pm

nosborne48 wrote:Vinny,

Taft, it appears, agrees with you. The school sent me an e mail this morning saying that they'd consulted with their accreditation agency (DETC) and decided to waive the final exams for these two courses altogether. My coursework grades will become my final grades.

That's good.

It is, it's the best solution for everyone. I'm happy things worked out for you.
But I mentioned that the exams were hard for me. Actually passing would have built a bit of confidence. Oh, well, tax exams are ALWAYS hard for me yet in the past I have never failed one.

I'm enrolling for the second trimester in the next day or so.

In a perverse way, I'm happy to hear that you thought that the exams were hard. I respect your judgement, so your finding the work challenging tells me something valuable about Taft.

Moving on, what's wrong with NM State? Why can't they proctor your exams? Or a local public library? Why is Taft making you go down to El Paso? Given this little debacle, Taft might be willing to consider a change in venue.
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Re: Frustration

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:49 pm

Taft gives three options for final exams:

1. Take the exams at Taft's headquarters in SoCal. This option is especially expensive and time consuming but after this last few weeks, I'm beginning to consider it seriously.

2. Take the exams at a member institution of the consortium. UTEP and El Paso Community College are both member institutions but the only consortium school in New Mexico is in Albuquerque.

3. Take the exams in front of a special proctor. But Taft's regs say that this option is available only if the nearest consortium school is more than fifty miles away. UTEP is about 45 miles away. Soooo...

Since there is a second consortium member within fifty miles, I think Taft would insist, and would be right to insist, that I take my exams there.

All of this is somehow tied up with DETC regs. which is why Taft consulted with DETC before deciding what to do in my case.
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: Frustration resolved and ONWARD!

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:00 pm

And really, I shouldn't lose sight of the fact that I am now OFFICIALLY one third through the LL.M. program! That's a cause for a small celebration, I think.

For the accountants and tax practitioners out there...I have reluctantly decided to take Tax of Estates and Trusts and Estate Planning this trimester rather than Partnership Tax and Corp. Tax II as I had originally intended. The reason is simple and practical. There is a substantial demand for estate and trust work here in the Desert Southwest. We get lots of retirees. There is nothing like the kind of mid-sized business client base that would be necessary to build a commercial tax law practice. And as far as handling tax for the small corps and p'ships that are here, the local CPAs do it cheaper than I could and they do the financial statements as well, which I can't do.

Actually, this is a development throughout the tax world. Even big huge corporations are more and more turning first to their CPAs when planning a buy, sale, or merger. That's a big reason I decided not to apply to a major law school for my LL.M. It just isn't worth it any more.
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: Frustration resolved and ONWARD!

Postby Jonathan Whatley » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:46 pm

Your diligence - and Tafts! - both keep on impressing. :D

I notice Western New England College School of Law offers an online LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law; look at the course list and descriptions and it's nearly a degree in tax! Alas it's also as expensive or more as one of those elite LL.M.s in Tax for BigLaw...
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Re: Frustration

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:14 pm

Whew! $1,433 per credit!

I'm sure it's a good program but charging that much makes it smell to me like a cash cow. Truth is, if I was willing to spend that much, I'd probably have bitten the bullet and spent a year in residence at Denver University or the University of Washington.

I am not sure how I'd feel about studying estate and gift tax in vacuum, as it were, without the hard core Code thumping involved in a true tax degree. It might be okay, I guess. E&T tax isn't rocket surgery like, say, international corporate mergers. The biggest difference really is that E&T does not have anything like the technical accounting component of commercial tax. What E&T does have is a lot of uber-legal drafting of wills and trusts and deeds and such, stuff that is reserved to lawyers alone. Also, there's the business of conducting probate litigation...

Hm. The more I think about it, the better I feel about my change of focus. :)
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