Ratings agency

Students judge their teachers. Often unfairly

STUDENTS may be reluctant to speak up in class, but they are more than happy to express their views of their teachers anonymously online. That provides a potentially useful pool of data. With assistance from Enrico Bertini and Cristian Felix of New York University, The Economist has analysed 1,289,407 reviews of 1,066 professors and lecturers in New York state.

Most of the commentary is innocuous: professors are praised for their brilliance and generosity, and admonished for being boring or tough graders: “This prof makes u work your butt off but u still won’t get an A”. But the outliers are startling. 

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