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Urgent Community College Exam Question


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My son's final in microeconomics was supposed to be yesterday (Thursday) at 2 o'clock.  On Tuesday the teacher told the class that instead of starting the exam at two as planned, she would give another lecture at that time, and they could take the exam afterwards.  However, in class yesterday she said that the exam wasn't ready and that she would post it at midnight instead.  This morning, she still hasn't posted the exam.  We had planned to leave town today because the exam was supposed to be yesterday!  Yesterday was supposed to be the last day of class for all the classes that meet on Thursday.  Now it is Friday, and still no exam.  My son gets time and a half per accommodations, and I'm thinking he should try to get in touch with his disability coordinator and ask for double time since we will be at a campground and wifi might be spotty.  The test will be open for 3 days, but it does have a time limit once started.  Honestly, I'm not even sure the teacher is in her right to extend the exam beyond the last day for classes, which was yesterday for my son's class.  We would never have planned a trip during exams!  The college did NOT extend the spring schedule due to Covid, but everything has been online, of course.  This teacher has been "off" all semester, but especially since the Covid lockdown.  She says really strange things to the class.  Does anybody have any advice on how we should handle this?  My son has the lowest grade he's ever had in this class (a high C), and I am worried about how this is going to affect his grade.  He *needs* to pass this class because he's supposed to graduate with his associates this spring and transfer to a 4-year in the fall.

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Contact the teacher one more time. If that does not lead to anything, contact the department chair.

Can't hurt to talk to disability office, but that may be too tight time wise since the accommodation has to be processed and the teacher needs to provide it.

Can you leave later for your trip?

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2 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Contact the teacher one more time. If that does not lead to anything, contact the department chair.

Can't hurt to talk to disability office, but that may be too tight time wise since the accommodation has to be processed and the teacher needs to provide it.

Can you leave later for your trip?

We can leave a little later, but it's a long drive, and we want to get to our destination before dark.  I guess we'll wait an hour from his e-mail to the teacher, and then see if we can contact disability. I can't even figure out which department the class is in or who the dean is. It's not clear -- I'm guessing micro-economics would be the business department?  I'm seriously wondering if she never planned to give the exam at all.  She's said some really strange things.  Just last week, she told the students that when doing their class reviews, that they should not make any comments about her appearance because it hurts her feelings, and that they shouldn't think that their poor reviews of the class will affect her salary, because she's going to transfer to William and Mary anyhow. ???

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1 minute ago, Serenade said:

We can leave a little later, but it's a long drive, and we want to get to our destination before dark.  I guess we'll wait an hour from his e-mail to the teacher, and then see if we can contact disability. I can't even figure out which department the class is in or who the dean is. It's not clear -- I'm guessing micro-economics would be the business department?  I'm seriously wondering if she never planned to give the exam at all.  She's said some really strange things.  Just last week, she told the students that when doing their class reviews, that they should not make any comments about her appearance because it hurts her feelings, and that they shouldn't think that their poor reviews of the class will affect her salary, because she's going to transfer to William and Mary anyhow. ???

The school's website should have the instructor listed in their faculty directory and that should have the departmental affiliation.

Student comments about teachers' appearance, uggh. Usually happens only to female instructors. And is totally inappropriate. I wonder what bad experiences she had. 

If passing the class is important, I'd postpone the trip for a day and not have him take the test at some campground with shaky wifi.

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He e-mailed the teacher again, and he copied his disability advisor, so that there is a record of what is going on.   

We did find the name of the dean and assistant dean, and I guess if we don't hear back, we'll take it up a notch.  My son, however, is very much afraid to rock the boat in case the teacher takes it out on his grade. 

Thanks for your help, Regentrude.

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40 minutes ago, regentrude said:

The school's website should have the instructor listed in their faculty directory and that should have the departmental affiliation.

Student comments about teachers' appearance, uggh. Usually happens only to female instructors. And is totally inappropriate. I wonder what bad experiences she had. 

If passing the class is important, I'd postpone the trip for a day and not have him take the test at some campground with shaky wifi.

Commenting on instructor appearance sounds entirely inappropriate. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it happens but I'm dismayed that students would think such comments appropriate 😞

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Yeah if it is a college class my kids whether college age or dual enrollment would make sure to get the test taken regardless. Whether that meant the whole family delayed or the college kid missed out would depend.  Sorry it is a frustrating situation. 

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21 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

My college age kids would probably just stay home from the camping trip in order to take the test while everyone else went ahead.  

 

15 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

Yeah if it is a college class my kids whether college age or dual enrollment would make sure to get the test taken regardless. Whether that meant the whole family delayed or the college kid missed out would depend.  Sorry it is a frustrating situation. 

I don't think a college teacher has the right to delay a final exam, do they?  This is a schedule set by the college months in advance.  The college made it clear that they are not extending the class schedule due to COVID.  Thursday (yesterday) was supposed to be the very last session for this class.  At the community college, exams are taken on the last scheduled day of class, not afterwards.  There is no finals week or anything.

The exam still hasn't posted.  The students were supposed to be able to start the exam at 2 o'clock yesterday.  Then she said the exam would post at midnight.  She is not answering e-mails.  Clearly something is wrong.  FWIW, yesterday she told the class she had not completed writing the exam yet!  

I guess I will now have to get involved.  My son has signed FERPA, so I am authorized to talk with his disability counselor.  I will start there, and then if necessary, we'll take it up to the Dean. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Serenade said:

 

I don't think a college teacher has the right to delay a final exam, do they?  This is a schedule set by the college months in advance.  The college made it clear that they are not extending the class schedule due to COVID.  Thursday (yesterday) was supposed to be the very last session for this class.  At the community college, exams are taken on the last scheduled day of class, not afterwards.  There is no finals week or anything.

The exam still hasn't posted.  The students were supposed to be able to start the exam at 2 o'clock yesterday.  Then she said the exam would post at midnight.  She is not answering e-mails.  Clearly something is wrong.  FWIW, yesterday she told the class she had not completed writing the exam yet!  

I guess I will now have to get involved.  My son has signed FERPA, so I am authorized to talk with his disability counselor.  I will start there, and then if necessary, we'll take it up to the Dean. 

 

 

I don't know...we don't have much experience with community colleges but I would expect the teacher to have the right to move the exam anytime in the grading period. So if the academic calendar says the semester ends Sunday then I wouldn't think she was outside her rights even if it is annoying. But the question for me wouldn't really be who was within their rights but making sure the test got taken and the grade needed was received. It's just me but I'm definitely more of a go along to get along in these situations basically because college grades are forever and making an appeal after the fact sounds like a giant pain and possibly even unsuccessful. 

When my dc are in a college class everything else bends around that. I know a lot of people don't feel that way but I do think when you take college classes that getting that completed is the priority, especially as you said he "needs" the class. Now I think the teacher is being annoying and possibly going against policy and I would be very frustrated. I guess the OP wasn't a WWYD but what i would do is be really aggravated and then adjust the plans to make sure the exam got completed. Sometimes even if you are in the right it is in your interests to just jump the hoop to get what you need. 

I agree it is very frustrating and unprofessional of the teacher to do that with the final. I hope you were able to get some resolution without having to change your travel plans.

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Do you know when final grades must be submitted by the professor?  Also, I would look to see what the official college final exam policies are.  There is probably something in either the student handbook or on the registrar's website.

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On 5/8/2020 at 3:00 PM, teachermom2834 said:

I don't know...we don't have much experience with community colleges but I would expect the teacher to have the right to move the exam anytime in the grading period. So if the academic calendar says the semester ends Sunday then I wouldn't think she was outside her rights even if it is annoying.

 

The problem with that though is what if two teachers move a test? They could then conflict with each other. Or what if the student already had a test then? There’s a reason that there is a schedule! I’ve actually never heard of a finals exam test time being moved. I’ve heard of instructors doing them earlier, like in class the week before finals week, but never later, and not announcing it at the last minute like this one did. I really don’t see how this is allowable, though I agree that of course the student really has no choice but to do it when asked, and that one just has to make the best of the situation. 

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10 minutes ago, MerryAtHope said:

 

The problem with that though is what if two teachers move a test? They could then conflict with each other. Or what if the student already had a test then? There’s a reason that there is a schedule! I’ve actually never heard of a finals exam test time being moved. I’ve heard of instructors doing them earlier, like in class the week before finals week, but never later, and not announcing it at the last minute like this one did. I really don’t see how this is allowable, though I agree that of course the student really has no choice but to do it when asked, and that one just has to make the best of the situation. 

Oh yeah, I understand how exam schedules work and that the potential exists for another conflict. I definitely think teachers should give the exams when they are scheduled. I just didn't know that there is something written in stone that no changes could be made. Maybe there is. But this test is online with a window to have it completed so maybe it is allowed. I have no idea. I just wouldn't assume there is a strict policy of no changes and that the student could fight it. Or that it was worth fighting. But as I said, I'm not one to take to the fight quickly so I'd just roll with it. 

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Just wanted to update.

First, my son ended up taking the exam at the campground.  We had a small problem with wifi, but we got it working OK and he had no further problems.  Four problems had graphs that didn't show up, and at first we were concerned that it was an issue on our end,  but it wasn't, so he e-mailed the teacher that he had put down random answers for those 4 problems.  She didn't respond for a couple of days, so we didn't know what would happen with that, but she eventually e-mailed the class confirming that there was an issue, and she was going to drop those problems.  Furthermore, she curved the test 12 points which allowed my son to get a "B" in the class.  His finally class grade was 79.88, and she rounded up to a "B".  I was happy for that, because he was maintaining a "B" in the class until everything went online, and then he struggled. I was even worried for a while that he might fail the class.

I did speak with his disability advisor when the test wasn't posting.  He had tried to contact the teacher several times himself, and given the time issue, I thought it was time to escalate things. I had FERPA authorization, thank goodness.  The disability advisor was very helpful, and she tried to speak with the teacher to no avail.  However, she could not really do anything further.  She could not give him more extra time on the test since WiFi issues would not be considered a disability issue.  I do think her call to the teacher was what eventually got the teacher to post the exam, though, as the exam posted shortly after she called so maybe the advisor was able to leave a message.  At any rate, by the time the test posted, it was too late for my son to take the exam and for us to get to the beach before dark, so we took our chance on the wifi and headed out on our planned vacation. 

I don't know what the rules are for how late a teacher can post exams, but the fact that the teacher kept changing things was highly problematic, IMO.  What if my son had had a flight to take?  What if he had planned on working? I do know that the official schedule said that last Thursday classes met on May 7, and for the community college this is the last day of any particular class -- there is not a separate exam week or anything.  At any rate, all's well that ends well.  Thank you all for your input!

 

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:23 AM, Serenade said:

 

I don't think a college teacher has the right to delay a final exam, do they?  This is a schedule set by the college months in advance.  The college made it clear that they are not extending the class schedule due to COVID.  Thursday (yesterday) was supposed to be the very last session for this class.  At the community college, exams are taken on the last scheduled day of class, not afterwards.  There is no finals week or anything.

The exam still hasn't posted.  The students were supposed to be able to start the exam at 2 o'clock yesterday.  Then she said the exam would post at midnight.  She is not answering e-mails.  Clearly something is wrong.  FWIW, yesterday she told the class she had not completed writing the exam yet!  

I guess I will now have to get involved.  My son has signed FERPA, so I am authorized to talk with his disability counselor.  I will start there, and then if necessary, we'll take it up to the Dean. 

 

 

FWIW, one of my DD's classes simply wasn't able to move as fast once it went online (and the Spring Break being extended a week probably didn't help), and a lot of students were struggling due to work and child conflicts, so the professor gave everyone an incomplete, so they have until the end of summer term to complete the class. Apparently there was no provision for just adding an extra week or two, only a whole semester. 

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1 hour ago, Serenade said:

I don't know what the rules are for how late a teacher can post exams, but the fact that the teacher kept changing things was highly problematic, IMO.  What if my son had had a flight to take?  What if he had planned on working? I do know that the official schedule said that last Thursday classes met on May 7, and for the community college this is the last day of any particular class -- there is not a separate exam week or anything.  At any rate, all's well that ends well.  Thank you all for your input!

 

 

I teach for a community college, and you were right to question how that was handled. At the college where I work, a student who missed an exam because of the professor's issues would be given an incomplete and the opportunity to take it at a time that was good for them. I've only given a handful of incompletes in over twenty years, but this would be one that I would definitely give.

The last incomplete I gave was for a student of mine who had a car accident the week before finals and was struggling with her recovery. She took the exam a month later and did beautifully. Not for any of the others who have asked in the last few years. None of my students asked this semester, at least so far. Grades went in Wednesday. 

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13 hours ago, Serenade said:

Just wanted to update.

First, my son ended up taking the exam at the campground.  We had a small problem with wifi, but we got it working OK and he had no further problems.  Four problems had graphs that didn't show up, and at first we were concerned that it was an issue on our end,  but it wasn't, so he e-mailed the teacher that he had put down random answers for those 4 problems.  She didn't respond for a couple of days, so we didn't know what would happen with that, but she eventually e-mailed the class confirming that there was an issue, and she was going to drop those problems.  Furthermore, she curved the test 12 points which allowed my son to get a "B" in the class.  His finally class grade was 79.88, and she rounded up to a "B".  I was happy for that, because he was maintaining a "B" in the class until everything went online, and then he struggled. I was even worried for a while that he might fail the class.

I did speak with his disability advisor when the test wasn't posting.  He had tried to contact the teacher several times himself, and given the time issue, I thought it was time to escalate things. I had FERPA authorization, thank goodness.  The disability advisor was very helpful, and she tried to speak with the teacher to no avail.  However, she could not really do anything further.  She could not give him more extra time on the test since WiFi issues would not be considered a disability issue.  I do think her call to the teacher was what eventually got the teacher to post the exam, though, as the exam posted shortly after she called so maybe the advisor was able to leave a message.  At any rate, by the time the test posted, it was too late for my son to take the exam and for us to get to the beach before dark, so we took our chance on the wifi and headed out on our planned vacation. 

I don't know what the rules are for how late a teacher can post exams, but the fact that the teacher kept changing things was highly problematic, IMO.  What if my son had had a flight to take?  What if he had planned on working? I do know that the official schedule said that last Thursday classes met on May 7, and for the community college this is the last day of any particular class -- there is not a separate exam week or anything.  At any rate, all's well that ends well.  Thank you all for your input!

 

So glad it turned out OK! I hope you were all able to enjoy the vacation. Online learning can be such a difficult thing for some students, and I’m glad he was able to maintain his b.

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