RateMyProfessors com: Testing Assumptions about Student Use and Misuse




Since its inception in 1999, the RateMyProfessors.com (RMP.com) website has grown in popularity and, with that, notoriety. In this research we tested three assumptions about the website: (1) Students use RMP.com to either rant or rave; (2) Students who post on RMP.com are different from students who do not post; and (3) Students reward easiness by giving favorable quality ratings to easy instructors. We analyzed anonymous self-report data on use of RMP.com from 208 students at a regional public university and RMP.com ratings of 322 instructors at that university. Our findings suggest that (1) student motivations for posting on the website are wide ranging and moderate in tone; (2) few student characteristics differentiate those who post from those who do not post on the website; and (3) although easiness and quality are highly correlated, discipline differences in easiness but not in quality suggest that students can, and do, discriminate between easiness and quality. We concur with previous researchers (e.g., Otto, Sanford, & Ross, 2008) that, although the site is limited, RMP.com has more validity than generally assumed. Accessed 7,670 times on https://pareonline.net from May 05, 2010 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.