Web sites offer student evaluations of professors

Brittany Moffat

RateMyProfessors, Pick-A-Prof helpful in choosing classes

Credit: DKS Editors

Credit: DKS Editors

Senior anthropology major Beth Lomske had heard of RateMyProfessors.com before she started college but didn’t start actually looking at it until after she came to Kent State.

Lomske said she never checks the Web site before she signs up for classes. Instead, she waits until she’s already registered for the next semester, and even then she only looks to find out what she can expect from the pool of professors in her department.

“Whether it’s a horrible professor or not, I probably still have to take it,” she said laughing.

Lomske’s pattern of checking Web sites such as RateMyProfessors or PickAProf.com after registering for classes is as common as those students who check the sites religiously to determine which professor they’d rather take.

Lomske said although she’s written a couple of honest reviews, she’s never felt compelled to write a condemnation of a professor. She added the less-than-glowing reviews she left were for professors whose teaching style were the problem – not the professor’s personality.

More than 1,400 professors from Kent State are listed on RateMyProfessors, with the English and Mathematics departments the two most reviewed. Reviews are searchable by name, university and department, although other ways of sorting the reviews are available. The Web site also offers users a detailed explanation of how ratings are calculated and how top professor lists are determined.

RateMyProfessors also offers students the option of ranking a professor’s hotness, which is denoted by a single chili pepper.

Pick-A-Prof offers reviews of professors broken down by individual classes within a department. The Web site, which dates from 2000, linked up with Facebook with professor rating and schedule applications in 2006. Unlike its competitor, Pick-A-Prof also offers grade histories based on official grade records held by a university. This allows students to see how many A’s, B’s or C’s a professor generally assigns.

While grade histories at other schools are available only if students upgrade from a free account to a paid subscription, grade histories for Kent State are free. The service is provided by the Undergraduate Student Government.

As on RateMyProfessors, Pick-A-Prof has many reviews of English and mathematics professors. However, not every course has a grade history available.

Although students vary in when and how often they use these Web sites – either during class registration or after they’ve decided on their schedule – others hardly ever use the sites.

Gary Thomas, junior vocal music major, said he’s heard of the Web sites, but neither he nor his friends use them. He said he vaguely recalled his freshman roommate using one of the sites, but he hadn’t paid much attention at the time. Thomas said he had never had any cause to use either Web site.

“It’s just not what attracts my interest,” he said.

Contact education, health and human services reporter Brittany Moffat at [email protected].