This is a public meeting support  public


  • Robert E Jensen

    Helpers for Student Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation ---

    Jensen Comment
    If you do not qualify for student loan forgiveness you should probably compare your current annual loan payments with payments if you privately refinance at the present low interest rates. However, you may lose some protections and options in doing so. Be careful about refinancing that sounds too good to be true. You might be able to refinance with your parents in a win-win situation if your parents consider you a good investment risk and you pay a higher interest rate than their safe investment alternatives. Read that as meaning you have a good job in a good profession and are not an unemployed aspiring artist or writer or getting a Ph.D. in a discipline where Ph.D. graduates are a dime a dozen.

    Whether or not you pay your student loan off aggressively by making above the minimum amounts due each year depends much upon what you would otherwise do with the money. Savings rates are so low that you are probably better off paying the loan off aggressively relative to saving. Risky investments are not the same as gambling, but you should probably be very cautious with putting money into risky investments like tech stocks until you have your student loans paid off. Also remember that there are transactions costs for buying and selling land, houses, and stocks. Short-term ownership (called flipping) of a house/condo is risky unless the buying deal was very good in a very hot housing market such as near a college or medical center. It helps in house flipping markets if you do the fixing up of a house yourself.

    My advice is to avoid buying new cars until your loan is paid off, although you may have to invest in a quality pre-owned car or lease modest cars at low rates. Think public transportation if you live in an urban area that has good public transportation. You can always rent an occasional car if needed for a trip.

    Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers are at

  • Robert E Jensen

    Rubrics in Academia ---

    "Assessing, Without Tests," by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, February 17, 2016 ---

    Jensen Comment
    Testing becomes more effective for grading and licensing purposes as class sizes increase. It's less effective when hands on experience is a larger part of competency evaluation. For example, in the final stages of competency evaluation in neurosurgery testing becomes less important than expert evaluation of surgeries being performed in operating rooms. I want my brain surgeon to be much more than a good test taker. Testing is more cost effective when assigning academic credit for a MOOC mathematics course taken by over 5,000 students.

    One thing to keep in mind is that testing serves a much larger purpose than grading the amount of learning. Testing is a huge motivator as evidenced by how students work so much harder to learn just prior to being tested.

    Some types of testing are also great integrators of multiple facets of a course. This is one justification of having comprehensive final examinations.

    Testing also can overcome racial, ethnic, and cultural biases. This is the justification, for example, for having licensing examinations like CPA exam examinations, BAR examinations, nursing examinations, etc. be color blind in terms of  race, ethnic, and cultural bias. This is also one of the justifications (good or bad) of taking grading out of the jurisdiction of teachers. Competency examinations also serve a purpose of giving credit for learning no matter of how or where the subject matter is learned. Years ago people could take final examinations at the University of Chicago without ever having attended classes in a course ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---


    "Using Rubrics to Assess Accounting Learning Goal Achievement," by Thomas F. Schaefer and Jennifer Sustersic Stevens, Issues in Accounting Education, Volume 31, Issue 1 (February 2016) ---
    Free only to subscribers (including users of campus libraries)

    This paper illustrates the development and use of rubrics to improve the learning assessment process and enhance the teaching-learning relationship. We highlight the multidimensional benefits of rubrics as valuable tools for student assessment (grading), course assessment (at the instructor level), and program assessment (at the administrator/curriculum committee/accreditation level). Moreover, rubrics may improve qualitative feedback on learning to students and instructors. Development of effective rubrics is framed in terms of learning goals, measurable learning outcomes, choice of assessment vehicle/assignment, and use of data collected from rubrics for feedback and/or improvement. The paper then offers an example set of rubrics designed to assess student achievement of three learning goals common to many undergraduate accounting programs: accounting measurement, research, and critical thinking. This paper may prove useful for instructors looking to use rubrics to improve the teaching-learning process and concurrently evaluate learning goal achievement for course or program assessment. As an auxiliary benefit, the use of scoring rubrics may simplify grading, as well as data collection in documenting assurance of learning for accreditation purposes.

    In higher-education institutions, faculty members often are tasked with measuring individual student performance, assuring their students meet established course learning goals, as well as evaluating overall student progress toward a particular program's learning goals. However, instructors often struggle with assessing student learning in an effective and efficient manner. Scoring rubrics represent a valuable tool to enhance the teaching-learning process by providing a systematic approach to measuring learning outcomes, yet very few studies in the accounting literature highlight the benefits of using rubrics or provide guidance in their application.1

    Rubrics—detailed lists of competencies for designated learning outcomes accompanied by levels of performance criteria—can guide assessments at both the student and course level, as well as contribute to a program-level assessment. Moreover, rubrics enhance feedback to students and promote learning (Brookhart 2013; Stevens and Levi 2013). The purpose of this paper is to offer guidance on the development and use of scoring rubrics for classroom and assessment purposes. The paper also provides an example set of scoring rubrics designed to assess student achievement for accounting measurement, research, and critical thinking learning goals.

    Rubrics enrich the teaching-learning process at the student level by enabling a discussion of quality for complex work products. Unlike a traditional assessment system in which the instructor judges quality and assigns a grade, a rubric conveys descriptions of quality and connects how a student's performance falls within those guidelines (Brookhart 2013). This facilitates a more objective, productive conversation regarding a student's progress compared to learning expectations and allows the student to identify his or her own strengths and weaknesses (Suskie 2010). If shared with students when distributing the assignment, then scoring rubrics may also help communicate performance expectations and lead to improved student submissions (McTighe and O'Connor 2005). Moreover, scoring rubrics can help standardize the grading process and provide more reliable, fair, and valid feedback to instructors and students (McTighe and Ferrara 1994).

    At the course level, instructors should consider their educational program's learning goals when developing student assignments. A carefully designed scoring rubric may complement this process by helping the instructor to clarify the purpose of the assignment, as well as to focus on its most important learning objectives (Ammons and Mills 2005). Feedback from the process may persuade instructors to modify instruction, course content, or assignments to improve teaching and enrich learning within the course. In addition, rubrics may facilitate coordination with other course instructors or teaching assistants by creating a more objective, consistent guide for scoring student submissions (Stevens and Levi 2013).

    At the program level, accounting undergraduate and graduate programs routinely assess and document progress toward the achievement of established educational learning goals. In addition, accrediting agencies typically require evidence of student achievement for institution-specific learning goals (Kimmell, Marquette, and Olsen 1998; Stivers, Campbell, and Hermanson 2000; J. Shaftel and T. Shaftel 2007). The development of scoring rubrics may prove useful in constructing assignments to assess specific program learning goals, evaluating progress in meeting learning goals, and facilitating ease of data collection for accreditation or other program evaluations. Scoring rubrics may also help decrease subjectivity in determining when assessments fail to provide evidence of sufficient student learning, so that curricular efforts can be targeted to remedy the deficiency.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---


  • Robert E Jensen

    UNC's Technology Commons and Resources
    "UNC Gives Professors a Way to Rate Classroom Technologies Across Campuses," by Corinne Ruff, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2016 --- 

    The University of North Carolina system has built a Yelp-like review site for teaching tools, where it is asking professors to review and comment on how useful various digital services were in their classrooms.

    Though the process will not be quite as simple as awarding five stars, Matthew Z. Rascoff, the system vice president for technology-based learning and innovation who is leading the project, said professors would use a research-based rubric to describe which tools had helped increase student learning and which aren’t worth the time or money. Technology vendors will also be able to use the site to view feedback on products.

    The online platform, known as the UNC Learning Technology Commons, opened to vendor applications last week and will end its first round of applications in mid-March. After a rolling review of the first cycle of applications within the next few weeks, faculty members on the university’s 17 campuses will have access to the commons. There they will be able to virtually discuss, review, and share ideas on which instructional technologies work and how educators in diverse disciplines can use tools to engage students in the classroom.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    From the CPA Newsletter on November 19, 2015

    US ranks 14th in world for financial literacy
    The US ranked 14th in a survey of global financial literacy that was conducted in more than 140 countries. The researchers asked multiple-choice questions about topics such as interest and diversification. Only 57% of Americans received a passing grade. Find the AICPA's financial education resources at Forbes (11/18)

    Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

  • Robert E Jensen
  • Robert E Jensen

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 13, 2015

    Bob Jensen's threads on sustainability accounting ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    2014: The Year in Interactive Storytelling, Graphics, and Multimedia ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    Sustainability Accounting ---  

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 5, 2015

    Stock exchange group sets guidelines for sustainability disclosures

    A group of the world’s largest stock exchanges, on Wednesday, released guidelines for the types of environmental, social, and governance-related metrics it says are important for companies to release to investors, Emily Chasan reports. The guidelines could push stock exchanges to require listed companies to report on more than 30 metrics, such as energy consumption, employee turnover, human rights, and gender and board diversity, though exchanges can voluntarily choose to adopt some, if any, of these standards.

     "Update on Social Accounting - Sustainability Reporting," by Jim Martin, MAAW's Blog, May 1, 2015 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on sustainability accounting ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    This is the research you should do before picking a credit card --- 

    The Upshot: Is It Better to Rent or Buy? (real estate calculator) ---
    Jensen Comment
    My general advice for new faculty is not to buy a home until tenure is achieved except in hot markets where fast turnover profits are probable provided too much is paid initially. After tenure achievement the above calculator can be helpful.

    My priors were to invest as much as possible in long-term ownership of a house and the least possible in the long-term ownership of a very reliable car. 

    However, be careful where you buy real estate. Up in the White Mountains I advise mountain or lake views even though New Hampshire has a view tax.  There really aren't any gated neighborhoods up here, and nothing would be gained by having gated neighborhoods. In San Antonio I would not put big money into a house that's not in a gated neighborhood. Even if you're opposed philosophically to that concept, the fact is that expensive homes do not sell very well in San Antonio unless they are in gated neighborhoods with armed guards at the gates. I would have had much more capital gain on my big San Antonio house if it had been in a gated neighborhood. Sigh!


    The Upshot:  Is It better to Lease or Buy a Car? ---
    Jensen Comment
    Leasing became much more attractive when the Federal Reserve drove commercial interest rates toward zero. But that does not mean "more attractive" than buying in all instances. Much depends on the amount you drive and the terms of the lease in the context of  the amount you drive. It also depends a lot upon your willingness to drive older cars. When I worked in San Antonio where newish cars are stolen in unbelievable numbers daily my wife's car was a newish tiny Honda Civic, and I drove a very reliable battered up ancient Ford station wagon that had a newish engine and transmission under the hood. This ghetto-like car looked so bad that nobody would think of stealing it and driving it across the border to Mexico.

    In general, even in retirement, my wife and I do not mind driving well-maintained older cars. Our main car in the White Mountains (where car theft would be headline news) is a very reliable Subaru Forrester that we will probably drive until it is at least 20 years old (it's now five years old) or has over 100,000 miles.  The Subaru will probably be the last car we ever own. After that its car leasing for us unless we're in a nursing home. I also keep an unreliable old Jeep Cherokee in the barn that's used mostly for hauling brush to the dump. That will be in our barn on the day I die.

    My point is that leasing would probably not be the best choice for us until we're very old. However, leasing is the best choice for most of our children except for one son who puts a lot of miles on a car commuting a long distance to work in California.

  • Robert E Jensen

    What good is the study of ethics if it doesn't make us more ethical? It breaks down strictures and transports us to wild, unpredictable places.
    "Cheeseburger Ethics," by Eric Schwitzgebel, AEON, 2015 ---

    . . .

    What’s more, abstract doctrines lack specific content if they aren’t tacked down in a range of concrete examples. Consider the doctrine ‘treat everyone as moral equals who are worthy of respect’. What counts as adhering to this norm, and what constitutes a violation of it? Only when we understand how norms play out across examples do we really understand them. Living our norms, or trying to live them, forces a maximally concrete confrontation with examples. Does your ethical vision really require that you free the slaves on which your lifestyle crucially depends? Does it require giving away your salary and never again enjoying an expensive dessert? Does it require drinking the hemlock if your fellow citizens unjustly demand that you do so?

    Few professional ethicists really are cheeseburger ethicists, I think, when they stop to consider it. We do want our ethical reflections to improve us morally, a little bit. But here’s the catch: we aim only to become a little morally better. We cut ourselves slack when we look at others around us. We grade ourselves on a curve and aim for B+ rather than A. And at the same time, we excel at rationalisation and excuse-making – maybe more so, the more ethical theories we have ready to hand. So we end, on average, about where we began, behaving more or less the same as others of our social group.

    Continued in article


  • Robert E Jensen

    Take a look at what exactly student athletes will learn in the new personal finance course at Ole Miss

    Jensen Comment
    Given that ignorance of personal finance is the greatest stress in families and the biggest reason for divorce I think personal finance should be part of the common core in all colleges and universities.

    "Teach Financial Literacy," by Steven Bahls, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 13, 2011 ---

    Most importantly take a look at some of the free training and education sites linked at

    Wharton Professor Olivia Mitchell on Worldwide Financial Literacy Participant02.pdf
    Thank you Jim Mahar for the heads up.

    Education: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ---
    Note the Financial Fables section ---

    Helpers in planning for retirement ---

    Personal Financial Helpers:  From the Virginia Society of CPAs ---

    Video:  Investing for Inflation ---

    What five classic Disney movies can teach us about personal finance ---

    U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators ---

    Continued at

    The following article is not specific enough for me to pass judgment on the content, but it has many of the correct headings. Because I am an accountant I would probably lean more toward some of the more technical aspects of personal finance such as income budgeting and grasp of the time value of money (which sadly is not what it used to be with today's miserable savings interest rates).

    For example, I think college graduates should be able to make technical comparisons about whether to buy or lease a car and to verify the annual percentage rate of a loan contract. When is it a good or bad idea to buy a service contract? Why is it a terrible idea to only make what your credit card company calls the minimum payment? When should you buy used or refurbished items on Amazon versus new items? It's a good idea to look for the used options, but it's not always a good idea to order a used item like a computer.

    Many of my colleagues would probably accuse me of being too technical in my vision of a personal finance class. I'm open to debate on this.

    When is it advisable to become an Amazon Prime member versus when it it a waste of money? For me it's a tremendous idea here in the boondocks, but it may not be the best idea for everybody.

    How necessary is your smart phone if you are paying for it on a tight budget? Bob Jensen only carries an old prepaid-time cell phone for calling out.

    "Take a look at what exactly student athletes will learn in the new personal finance course at Ole Miss," by Libby Kane, Business Insider, April 6, 2015 ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    Ex-IRS Ethics Office Lawyer Disbarred For … Ethics Violations ---

    Jensen Comment
    Her punishment sounds serious until you examine the IRS track record for hiring back fired employees.

    "Report: IRS hiring back problem employees," by Kevin G. Hall, McClatcheyDC, February 5, 2015 ---

    More than one in 10 former employees rehired by the Internal Revenue Services had left the agency with performance and conduct issues, a special inspector general’s report concluded.

    The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration was actually released last Dec. 30 but its results were divulged Thursday by the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch.

    The IG’s report found that of the 7,000-plus former IRS employees hired back between January 2010 and September 2013, 824 of them had prior employment disciplinary issues. Of those 824, the inspector general said 141 had a prior tax issue and five of them were determined to have willfully failed to file a tax return.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    TED Talks: How schools kill creativity ---

    Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    "Here's The Painstakingly Detailed Budget Of A Couple Who Earns Nearly $15,000 A Month," by Libby Kane, Business Insider, January 26, 2015

    Suppose you were teaching a financial literacy course and used the following monthly budget for a couple. What would you focus on to stimulate student debates on the issues.



    • The couple earns $180,000 after-tax withholdings and tax estimated additional payments per year (assuming both adults work giving rise to the day care allowance).

    • My calculation assuming a 4% APR 30-year mortgage initially is that the couple owns a home originally costing $345,150 plus whatever they made in a down payment. This price would be relatively high in a decadent farming town in Iowa and relatively low in a suburb of most major cities. It would be a tent in Silicon Valley. It would not be much of a house within a walking distance of virtually all major universities in the USA.

      The house probably cost a lot less if the $1,647.80 payment also covers property taxes and mortgage insurance. Have your students estimate the original cost of the home if the payments on the mortgage itself are only $1,000 per month. They must be living in an old shack or a cramped town house.

    • The life insurance seems relatively low for a family with young children.

    • The "out-to-eat" budget is relatively low and can be used up entirely with two nights out at nice restaurants per month. The family must eat out mostly at fast-food and pizza joints. One way to save money plus eat healthy meals is to eat at a nearby hospital like we did in both San Antonio (where the Northeast Baptist Hospital was only a block away). Eating at the hospital was cheaper than cooking at home. Erika worked full time at this hospital.

    • The electric bill of $200 would not cover our electric bill with heating and air conditioning while we lived in San Antonio where the electricity and gas bill was over $400 per month. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire electricity, propane and heating oil would be more like $1,000 per month. It's very cold up here.

    • I think for a younger family not of Medicare the medical, dental, and prescription drug allowance is way too low in the budget shown in the article below. For retired folks like us on Medicare the medical, dental and prescription outlays would be much, much higher --- more like $1,500 per month. Younger folks naively think Medicare is "free"  after you retire. It's not free when you add in the cost of Medicare itself, the cost of Medicare supplemental insurance, and the out-of-pocket costs of medicine not covered by Medicare D.

    • How about the other monthly estimates?
      Are they realistic for the USA?
      Are important items deleted in terms of most families?

      • In San Antonio where I watered my lawn with a sprinkling system my water and sewer bills were over $200 per month
      • My Time Warner cable bill is now over $160 per month
      • What about those monthly iPhone usage fees?
      • How about home owner insurance and umbrella (liability) insurance?
      • How about lawn and garden equipment such as a garden tractor and lawn mowers and snow throwers?
      • What about furniture and appliance costs? Up here in the boondocks I spend quite a lot on extended on-site warranties.


    When you teach from this budget you might go into more details regarding possible tax strategy and retirement strategy  pros and cons.


    "Here's The Painstakingly Detailed Budget Of A Couple Who Earns Nearly $15,000 A Month," by Libby Kane, Business Insider, January 26, 2015 --- 


    February 1, 2015 reply from Patricia Walters


    Not every place charges for water. We had a well in VA and we paid electricity and maintenance for the pump, not for the water.

    We had a lawn mower in VA. Here we have someone come and cut our grass who has the equipment, about 100 per month in the growing season only. No snow. Even in VA we had shovels, not power tools.

    No TV, only cable for internet. Biggest utility charges electricity (we have big OLD house) and phones.

    We don't know where these people live. Costs vary widely depending on location, even within counties.

    Are there homes in Fort Worth that cost over a million? Sure. But there are also homes in reasonable neighborhoods for less than $150,000. I live in one of those neighborhoods.

    I've lived in NYC, NJ, VA and now TX. Costs vary widely across those places and within those places.

    One if their biggest expenditure was school, which seemed likely to me.

    Why do you doubt the truth of their budget?



    February 2, 2015 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Patricia,

    I did not doubt the truth of their budget, but I did think they left a few things out or were ambiguous about some things that need to be clarified by a teacher or students using this budget in a financial literacy course.

    For example, the $1,687 mortgage payment could be the mortgage alone or it could also cover property taxes, homeowner insurance, and mortgage insurance. Take those away from the payment and you are left with a fairly low-sized mortgage.

    In my case the property taxes are $1,000 per month but they are not part of my mortgage payment in these mountains. In fact the property tax payment and the mortgage payment only differ by $200 because I paid over 60% down at the time of purchase. Later I refinanced the remaining mortgage for 3.6% for 30 years. I pay the homeowners insurance separately, and that's not cheap up here.

    Most people cannot afford such a large down payment unless they're retired. In rural mountain and ocean properties the banks typically require larger down payments than in towns. In many instances former owners must finance the homes they sell.

    When I taught at the University of Maine I had an ocean cottage that could not be financed except by an owner. Banks would not loan on shore property in those days. That made interest rates highly variable, because they were part and parcel to sales price negotiations. Owners also typically demand large down payments when they finance sales properties.

    I also wanted a mortgage so I could play the game of having more itemized tax deductions plus invest more in a long-term insured tax-exempt mutual fund that pays only slightly less than by mortgage interest rate. The standard deduction sucks, but you have to have a sizable amount of itemized deductions to cover the minimum threshold for itemized deductions..

    I could pay the mortgage off any time, but I don't want to due to a tax strategy that might be debated by students in a financial literacy course. That's why I suggest having students debate alternate tax strategies at the same time they are discussing household budgeting.

    Having a deep water well makes me not concerned about the cost of water usage. Wells only get expensive when you have to replace the well and or the pressure tank and pump. Two of my neighbors had to replace their wells, and it cost each of them thousands of dollars.

    With a well also comes a septic system. The risk here is having to replace the drain fields for broken tiles. That expense depends a lot on having sufficiently high ground for another field. You can't put a new drain field over an old drain field or in low land that does not drain well from rain and snow melt.

    A B&B down the road is having all sorts of troubles finding a suitable place for a new drain field. The small hotel has been empty for over a year in part because of this problem and the need for a new well.

    In San Antonio you could get housing relatively close to Trinity University for less than $200,000 but most faculty who do so either do not have children or send their children to private schools (which is really expensive). Also crime risks are higher near campus relative to most outer northern parts of the city. By higher crime risk I mean that I don't recommend walking near campus at night and having to have high quality home security systems.

    Trinity has very safe and well lighted walking, jogging, and biking trails on campus that are heavily patrolled by officers on bicycles. These trails are used a lot by neighbors not affiliated with the University. It's a public service.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

  • Robert E Jensen

    Fraud ---

    Ethics ---

    "A few thoughts on teaching Ethics:  Are Business Schools using the Best Approach to Teach Ethics?" by Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, January 27, 2015 --- 

    Jensen Comment
    For me role playing did not work so well in teaching ethics or most any other topic. I think it went too slow and got boring.  There are tons of cases, but these also tend to get boring.

    For me short videos seemed to work the best, especially when followed by review discussions. At the time the IMA had some very good videos for classroom use.

    I think it's important to stress the occasional murky line between unethical acts and illegal acts. You can teach both, but it's important to stress when behavior is possibly unethical but probably not illegal.

    CGMA Portfolio of Tools for Accountants and Analysts ---
    Includes ethics tools and learning cases.

    Ethics Games and Puzzles ---

    Scruples Game ---

    Ethics Training for the Workplace ---

    The bottom line is that both ethics and political leanings more often than not are impacted more by what is learned growing up at home and possibly by what is learned in church and K-12 schooling.  Sometimes we learn ethics best by watching our teachers, coaches, and supervisors recommending things that are not ethical.

    For example, my high school football coach encouraged playing dirty ---