Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rate This Rating

As The Red & Black reported today, UGA (where I teach) finished in the Rate My Professor Top 10 universities. Full list here. We're #8! We're #8! So very exciting -- except that we were #3 last year, so we've dropped.

So, let's rate that rating. In other words, what's their methodology? Here's their methodology page, and from it we can tell a couple of things. There are a lot of ratings, millions of them, and nothing about this is random or systematic. The final rating is a combination of individual faculty ratings and campus ratings, which kinda makes sense, but beyond that there's no rigor in the data collection. It's big data, but necessarily good big data.

All that said, go UGA. We're #8.

Interestingly, in the Top Professor's list, two are from Georgia but neither is from UGA. I suppose we make up for it with lots and lots of well rated, but not top rated, professors.

In full transparency, my rating on a 5-point scale is 4.3.

My thoughts about stuff like this? Harmless fun. Don't take the numbers too seriously, given the lack of rigor, but if I were a student I'd certainly look at them for guidance. Keep in mind that often the students who post are those pissed off about their grades. And the N is small. Mine has 10 ratings based on posts from 2005 to 2015. Not exactly a good data source and, in fact, fairly meaningless.

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