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Web-Based Student Evaluations of Professors: The Relations between Perceived Quality, Easiness, and Sexiness

25 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2003  

James Felton

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law

John B. Mitchell

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law

Michael Stinson

Central Michigan University - Department of Computer Science

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

College students publicly rate their professors' teaching at RateMyProfessors.com, a web page where students anonymously judge their professors on Quality, Easiness, and Sexiness. Using the data from this web site, we examine the relations between Quality, Easiness, and Sexiness for 3,190 professors at 25 universities. For faculty with at least 10 student posts, the correlation between Quality and Easiness is 0.61, and the correlation between Quality and Sexiness is 0.30. Using simple linear regression, we find that about half of the variation in Quality is a function of Easiness and Sexiness. Accordingly, these results suggest that about half of the variation in student opinion survey scores used by universities for promotion, tenure, and teaching award decisions may be due to the easiness of the course and the sexiness of the professor. When grouped into sexy and non-sexy professors, the data reveal that students give sexy-rated professors higher Quality and Easiness scores. Based on these findings, universities need to rethink the use of student opinion surveys as a valid measure of teaching effectiveness. High student opinion survey scores might well be viewed with suspicion rather than reverence, since they might indicate a lack of rigor, little student learning, and grade inflation.

Keywords: Teaching, Evaluation, Student Opinion, Halo Effect

JEL Classification: I21, J44, M51

Suggested Citation

Felton, James and Mitchell, John B. and Stinson, Michael, Web-Based Student Evaluations of Professors: The Relations between Perceived Quality, Easiness, and Sexiness (June 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=426763 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.426763

James Felton (Contact Author)

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law ( email )

332 Sloan Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
989-774-3269 (Phone)
989-774-6456 (Fax)

John B. Mitchell

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law ( email )

328 Sloan Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
989-774-3651 (Phone)

Michael Stinson

Central Michigan University - Department of Computer Science ( email )

411 Pearce Hall
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859
United States
989-774-3511 (Phone)

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