Earlier this week, disgruntled professors oversaw the launch of “Rate My Students,” an online review site that provides “a safe forum for instructors to dunk on their students, anonymously and without consequences,” according to the site’s mission statement. The site, which allows professors to filter students by school, field of study, and graduation year as well as search for names directly, has been met with both praise and criticism from various circles of the academic community.
“I think it’s really important to have something like this, to have a space where professors can just vent,” said one interviewee, who declined to be named. “Some students are just so infuriating; I don’t think a lot of people realize how much it can drag you down, as a professor.”
“I think it’s great,” said another. “I had a student once who would come into class every day with a bag of like, Cheetos or something, and just ask the most inane questions. If someone could have warned me beforehand I would have requested a change in roster.”
Not all responses to Rate My Students have been positive. In addition to rating criteria like “Effort,” “Attendance Frequency,” and “Engagement in Tomfoolery,” the site’s beta version included a “Hotness” rating. After complaints calling the feature everything from “frivolous” and “irrelevant” to “sexist” and “concerning,” parent company Provolone issued a statement in response, writing, “The Hotness rating is meant to reflect a student’s enthusiasm and engagement in the classroom, and was never intended to be misused as a measure of attractiveness.” Users upon launch were quick to note, however, that the feature had quietly been removed.
Controversy aside, some UR professors have been quick to adopt the site. The author searched his own name on Rate My Students and discovered, to his horror, a negative review that was easily attributed to infamous Computer Science instructor Ted Pawlicki, a prolific contributor to the forum. “I asked him for the Big O of a recursive function and he said ‘25,’” Pawlicki writes. “Terrible student, 0/5.” Pawlicki did not reply to a request for comment.
It’s not just professors who have found an outlet in Rate My Students. Peruse the ratings for long enough and you’ll be sure to find reviews from TAs, cafeteria workers, and even custodial staff. Some are positive, thanking a student for friendly interactions or help cleaning up a dining hall mess, but most are unpleasant reads. “i dont know how a human being can produce this much vomit but he did. not a slay >:( ,” one post states, referencing a student whom we can all agree deserves anonymity here.
Ultimately, the launch of Rate My Students has raised a number of questions. How does a professor’s need to vent their frustrations translate to defaming students on the Internet? Is “warning” other instructors about a troublesome student in fact a thinly veiled excuse to ruin the student’s future employment prospects? Who in tarnation thought that Rate My Students was a good idea? The answers to all these and more remain contentious, and it is uncertain whether they shall ever be answered conclusively. For now, though, the courageous can head over to RateMyStudents.com for a conclusive answer to a different question: Just how much do your professors hate your guts?