Missouri Opens Student Evaluations

1 decade 10 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, July 12 2007 Jul 12, 2007 Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:39:56 PM CDT July 12, 2007 in News
Students complete course evaluations every semester, but it is complicated for other students to see.

Currently students can only see a teacher's past grade distributions -- how many A's, B's, and C's. But state law makers want students to know more -- like what the past students liked and didn't like about the course.

Jessica Metoui is studying hard for her bar exam in a few weeks. She says her path to MU's law school was lined with good professors - for the most part.

"I remember we had one professor in particular who received a lot of positive ratings, but I think it was more for his biceps than his teaching style," Metoui said.

Soon students will get more reliable information about professors, teaching assistants and other instructors. The information will come from those student evaluations and the faculty biographies.

"I think that makes a lot of sense. You want to know what your peers think about a particular professor."

MU Provost Brian Foster agrees that knowing what other students think can help them make better decisions.

"You'd like to have students have all of the information they can have. The more information they have, the better," he said.

Foster says the official course evaluations will be more reliable than well-known websites where students rate their professors.

"The problem with those kinds of information sources is that there is a problematic self-selection of students that do the responses," Foster said.

Metoui says the more information, the better.

"I think the university should continue to offer as much information as possible to students," she said. "I think that when we have a free marketplace of information between both students and professors, we're going to have a better educational institution generally. There can't be anything bad about providing more information to students."

The database will be available fall of 2008. Foster says the information going onto the university website will be checked for accuracy. The new database of information is expected to cost MU more than $100,000.

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