I absolutely love the idea of rating teachers by students. In fact, I think it is a valuable way for the teacher, administrators and the public to get a read on what/how a teacher is doing. This allows for teachers to self reflect and plan a strategy to improve. These are all positive aspects of this system.
In order for the data to be accurate, it must be from a large enough sample (ex: at a middle or high school, say 100 students over two years), it must be anonymous and the sampling must be done at specific intervals. The data must be for current teachers at a particular school and the data can not overlap from different subject areas, grades taught, etc. If the data is not managed, it becomes slipshod and does not help anyone do an effective evaluation or work on improvement.
When students are allowed to rate teachers randomly, as is the case with Ratemyteachers.com , what happens is that teachers are allowed to (1) develop a personality cult if they so desire by having students ‘vote’ for them, especially multiple times (2) students are allowed to run a hate campaign at a teacher who may not have given them the grade they WANTED. Parents and students are able to rig the system and determine how education is delivered by creating inaccurate data.
In theory, Ratemyteachers is great but in actuality it has many mistakes which make it a useless tool.
Example in point: I have not worked at Wood Middle School in Alameda, CA for over three years and yet I am still on the posting for being rated. I currently live in Eldoret, Kenya and yet a student just rated me……….pretty interesting.
When I have tried to e-mail the website for removal, it can not be done as the captcha code on the website requires 3-D glasses that I do not have in Kenya.
Since I know enough about data, I find it more amusing at this point and would use this as a tool myself to evaluate a school administrator who puts any credence into the numbers. Ratemyteachers.com seems to do a fine job of not teaching statistics.…..oh, wait, isn’t that math?