The most popular sites behind Facebook and Myspace are sites that allow you to “grade” your professors or warn of really terrible ones. While warning students about professors who do not speak English properly, do not know the material very well or just plain do not care can certainly be helpful in situations, these sites should be banned for a number of reasons:
Unfair advantage: The use of a professor rating site creates an unfair advantage for those who can register early and take the easiest teachers while those who register last (usually freshman) usually are stuck with the hardest and typically worse teachers. By using a professor rating site, students can create a schedule based on teachers who grade significantly easier than other professors. While the students get better grades, this can have a negative impact on the quality of education the student receives. One can simply “coast” through college with an information advantage over others instead of academic superiority. Every college has it’s varying degree of professors and to even out the variance in teaching methods nobody should know anything about their professors.
Sites like Ratemyprofessor claim that allowing anonymous internet users to grade their professors on a scale of 1-5 gives them valuable feedback, but rarely does one read a legitimate review on the professor’s teaching ability rather than their willingness to give out A’s or how attractive they are.
Most “reviews” fall into the category of “this teacher will give an A to anyone who breathes and never gives homework” or “this teacher actually wants students to learn, avoid like the plague!” As any basic statistics class will tell you, the site succumbs to response bias. Only students who perform well and receive an “A” take the time to go on a professor rating site and voice their opinion, and vengeful students who do poorly also feel motivated enough to write a scathing review of their professor.
Ratemyprofessor breaks down to a system of hate or love which severely damages the academic integrity of the American higher education system and colleges should justifiably ban such sites.
What can colleges and universities do to stem the rapid rise in use of professor rating sites? Every institution of higher learning needs to make available the teacher evaluations that are pretty much standard across the United States universities. Universities force students to turn to sites such as RateMyProfessor specifically because of a lack of choices. Giving incoming and current students access to such a database would give students a more well rounded and fair view of a teacher’s ability to perform his or her job beyond churning out A’s.
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