Home > Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > Researchers Rate RateMyProfessors and Find It Useful, if Not Chili-Pepper Hot

Researchers Rate RateMyProfessors and Find It Useful, if Not Chili-Pepper Hot

By Marc Parry

The Web site RateMyProfessors evokes skepticism among faculty members. Some view the anonymous evaluation site as a haven for rants and odd remarks (“He will crush you like an academic ninja!”), or a place where students go to grade instructors based on easiness or attractiveness (a chili-pepper icon distinguishes professors that are “hot” over those that are “not”).

But new research out of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire suggests the popular service is a more useful barometer of instructor quality than you might think, at least in the aggregate. And the study, the latest of several indicating RateMyProfessors should not be dismissed, raises questions about how universities should deal with a site whose ratings have been factored into Forbes magazine’s college rankings and apparently even into some universities’ personnel evaluations.

“There is the possibility that people may feel legitimized to use the information in potentially dangerous ways,” says April Bleske-Rechek, an associate professor of psychology at Eau Claire, who is a co-author of the new study. They might, for example, give too much weight to comments on the site in deciding whether to hire someone or grant the person tenure.

Continued at: http://chronicle.com/article/Researchers-Rate/129820/

Read the research: http://pareonline.net/pdf/v15n5.pdf

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