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Ratemyteacher.com: accurate evaluations of teachers or biased reviews from unhappy students?

Teacher statistics 101: Ratemyteacher.com

*Ratings are out of five stars

English Department (21 Teachers Rated)

Range: 1.3-4.3

Mean: 2.7

Median: 2.7

Math Department (21 Teachers Rated)

Range: 1.3-4.3

Mean: 3.0

Median: 3.0

Science Department (16 Teachers Rated)

Range: 1.3-4.3

Mean: 2.6

Median: 2.7

Social Studies Department (16 Teachers Rated)

Range: 1.0-4.0

Mean: 2.6

Median: 2.7

Teacher ratings: what we found and where we found it

This set of teacher ratings came from “ratemyteachers.com” reviews. The site sorts teacher ratings as provided by students into six categories: easiness, helpfulness, clarity, knowledge, textbook use, exam difficulty and overall quality of teaching. Ratemyteachers.com allows users to submit teacher ratings within each category on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is the highest score possible. We selected only teacher reviews that had at least three submissions to be part of the calculations. The entire set of ratings were divided into departments of math, English, science and social studies. For each department rating, we calculated the mean, median and standard deviation. For the knowledge, textbook use and exam difficulty categories, some teachers did not have a 1 to 5 rating available, so those teachers were not part of the categories’ calculations.

Are the stats valid?

For all teachers, the averages for “easiness,” “helpfulness,” “clarity” and “knowledge” were each given a rating of around three. Teachers were also given averages of three in the same categories. The average for all teachers in the “overall” category is 2.8. Ratemyteacher.com’s statistics are far from infallible, though. Since any disgruntled student can post multiple submissions, and teachers can submit positive reviews for themselves, the submissions are not completely accurate and unbiased. Still, the statistics provide a roughly accurate portrayal of student opinions.

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