Faculty evaluations ‘more reliable’ than RateMyProfessor

Belen Sassone/ Contributing Writer

When selecting classes, one of the things students look at is a professor’s “quality.” While ratemyprofessor.com is a commonly used resource, some administrators believe students should refer to FIU’s faculty evaluations.

With ratemyprofessor.com and FIU’s faculty evaluation website, opir.fiu.edu, students can search for a professor’s name and the course number in order to find out what previous students thought of their professor’s teaching abilities. 

Ratemyprofessor.com allows students to write detailed reviews about instructors, share things such as the grade they received, whether attendance is mandatory and the level of difficulty.

Like ratemyprofessor.com, FIU’s faculty evaluation website allows students to search professors by semester and shows them what previous students answered to questions such as “communication of ideas and information” and “respect and concern for students.” The evaluation is on a scale of ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor’ and answers are broken down by percentages. 

But unlike ratemyprofessor.com, these scores are based on an evaluation form students fill out at the end of every semester.

Arlene Garcia, the assistant director of the Office of Retention and Graduation Success in Analysis & Information Management said in an email to Student Media that these evaluations are “reviewed every semester by departments and are then used when assigning courses and giving promotions.” 

And while Garcia agrees that students should use every resource available to help them decide on an instructor, the University’s semesterly review, her email read, is what makes FIU’s faculty evaluations more reliable.

“All students in a course are given the opportunity to fill out a faculty evaluation and are asked the same questions, so faculty evaluations are more reliable than ratemyprofessor.com, which may only have very positive or very negative reviews,” she wrote. “[A student will] get an overall idea of the experience other students had with a professor.”

However, Jonathan Saenz, a transfer junior majoring in marketing believes ratemyprofessor.com is the most reliable source a student needs to pick a professor.

“It’s important to have resources like this available,” Saenz said, “You need to know what you’re gonna get before you take that class.”

Without knowing what kind of professor you’re going to get, he said, you can waste time, money and even fall behind.

Paul Venn, a transfer Junior majoring in finance and marketing, agrees with Saenz and believes students should only rely on ratemyprofessor.com.

Faculty evaluations, he said, are the results of students who “jot down whatever just to get out of the classroom,” while someone who decides to leave a review for a professor on ratemyprofessor.com, shows that they took the time out of their day to leave a comment.

Carleen Vincent-Robinson, a senior instructor and internship director in the department of Criminal Justice, disagrees and like Garcia, prefers FIU’s evaluation system.

Through the comments students leave in the evaluations, she is able to gain insight, she said in an email to Student Media, on how to improve course materials and their delivery.

While ratemyprofessor.com, her email read, “is based upon the grade earned in the course or the perceived ease of the course rather than whether or not the student actually learned something.”


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

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