Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The EdWonk Reviews: Rate My Teachers.com

Today your EdWonk took a good look at a website that may be of interest to any student that has ever attended school. The site is called: Rate My Teachers.com and can be found (as the name implies) at: http://www.ratemyteachers.com .

What this site does is encourage students and parents to rate their teachers and submit these ratings to the site's data base. The survey results are then collated and an overall "score" is generated for each teacher. Teachers are grouped according to the school in which they work.

Features Of Site:
Anyone may log-on to the site anonymously in order to learn what a given teacher's score is. The data base is large. According to the site, over 876,000 teachers have been given nearly 6,000,000 individual ratings. There are some 40,000 schools that have had one or more of its teachers rated.

Interested users may comment on individual teachers. However, the site's rules prohibit any postings which may be construed as threatening or intimidating. Personal attacks of any sort are not allowed. Comments are limited to those that are related to an individual teacher's teaching style. According to the site, moderators regularly inspect postings and remove unsuitable material.

Users may participate in an online forum which addresses a variety of issues. However, in order to introduce a topic (a.k.a. a thread) for discussion, the user is required to undergo a free registration process and then log-in.

There is a free newsletter available by e-mail.

Ease Of Use:
The site is very user-friendly. Graphics are colorful and appropriate for all ages. In order to discourage very young children from using the service, school/teacher listings are limited to middle/high schools.

Site Strengths:
What student can resist the opportunity to anonymously rate his or her teacher? The data base is large. However, at the present time schools in Canada and the eastern United States have the largest representation. This site has been in existence since 2001. According to the publishers, students themselves oversee each school's data base and are invited to serve as moderators.

Areas Of Concern:
Teachers do not have the opportunity to respond to what may be unfair criticism by students. The existence of this data base may furnish unscrupulous administrators may use this information for evaluating teachers under their supervision.

The actual rating system is limited to four categories: Good, Average, Poor, and "Popular." These categories reflect little about a teachers actual classroom personality or effectiveness.

Overall Usefulness Of This Resource:
Rate My Teachers.com attempts to serve a highly needed purpose. There needs to be some mechanism for parents and children to provide meaningful feedback concerning their teacher's performance. However, the fact that teachers or administrators are unable to adequately respond to what may be unfair targeting of individual teachers is a major concern. Your EdWonk would give this resource an overall rating of "B-."