Should students be allowed to grade their teachers on the Internet? 15 replies

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Mephistopheles

IME and myself

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#1 11 years ago

Education | 05.08.2007

German Teachers Irked By Students' Online Evaluation

0,,2584832_1,00.jpg German teachers now face a room of potential evaluators

A Web site that allows students to grade their teachers has been criticized by those who feel they're being treated unfairly. The site's creators say educators shouldn't complain as they're getting pretty good grades.

The times are past when it was only schoolchildren whose stomachs churned before they got their grades.

Now teachers in Germany are being graded by their pupils.

Many teachers are vehemently opposed to it. They are not so much afraid of how they are evaluated, but rather upset because the results are then posted on the Internet -- and accessible to millions of Internet users.

More than 150,000 users have so far registered on the Web site Spickmich.de and over the past four months alone they have posted their evaluations of a good 100,000 teachers, according to the Web site's creators, who have already had to defend their creation in court.

Judges in Cologne, however, ruled in late June that grading teachers on the Internet is covered under the basic right to free expression.

The verdict rejected a suit filed by a secondary-school teacher who felt that data protection rules concerning her had been violated by the Web site.

Violation of privacy?

0,,1927818_1,00.jpg Students can share views about their teachers in just a few clicks

Many teachers say their privacy rights have been violated by the pupils' assessments being posted on the Web site without their approval.

The teachers are graded according to such categories as "motivated" or "good instruction," "easy examinations" -- or even "sexy."

Heinz-Peter Meidinger, chairman of the German Teachers Association, said that evaluations in such a form do not really reveal much.

"Whether an examination is easy or not cannot be a criterion, since, after all, it's the curriculum which has to be fulfilled," he said.

Providing feedback

The Web site's creators say they are "baffled" by the nationwide uproar. They say students are only being offered the chance, via a non-commercial channel, to provide teachers with some feedback about their classroom instruction.

"Teachers also must learn to live with criticism," said Bernd Dicks, a 24-year-old social sciences student and one of three people behind the Web site.

Dicks added that the pupils are largely quite satisfied with their teachers. On a grading scale of one to six, the teachers' average grade is 2.7 -- and lately improving.

While some psychologists say that teachers should learn to accept evaluation by their students, others caution that educators are virtually unprotected against the criticism on the Internet.

"There is a lack of dialogue," said Wolfgang Hagemann, a psychotherapist who has written a book on the stress teachers face in Germany.

No tolerance for violence

0,,336089_1,00.jpg Officials say they won't tolerate teachers being harrassed

Meanwhile, the education minister for the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Barbara Sommer, categorically ruled out the danger that the Internet grades are used in deciding whether to hire a teacher.

Sommer added that punitive legal action would be taken in the future against any harrassment of teachers on the Internet.

"We cannot accept it when teachers are exposed in an often humiliating fashion," the minister said.

In a few cases, the Web site has had messages posted that called for violence against teachers. Dicks confirmed that two entries on the Web site had been erased.

But still, the site is not totally immune from attempts at manipulation, one teacher near the northern city of Hanover recently showed.

He registered himself as a pupil and then posted high grades about his own teaching colleagues. Within a few days, seven of those were listed in the top 10 rankings of Germany's best teachers.

DW staff / DPA (win)

Source

Basically, I think students should be allowed to "evaluate" their teachers. On the other hand, the Internet is not the right platform for this kind of personal information. Have in mind that the information you publish on the internet will be available for decades (maybe forever), even if the original web site is taken down.

I recently found some of my Usenet postings, dating back to 1996, with my full name (obeying the "netiquette" of the early days of the Internet).

Opinions change the older you get. I wish those posts had been deleted meanwhile, but of course, this will most likely never happen... You can still find them in some Usenet archives.

What do you think? Should students be allowed to grade their teachers on the INTERNET?




NeverEndingBattle

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#2 11 years ago

Really like most things it comes down to wether the kid will abuse it or not. It could be a real advantage for them, but you will have tons of kids putting things like "sexy". So I say NO, you won't get real results from high school/younger kids.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#3 11 years ago

Sure, in the USA, we use "ratemyteacher.com" or something like that, and it helps you get an idea not only what the teacher is like, bu what the school is. If the only posts you see are "OMG she sucks she didn't give me an A when I got 70%!" or simply "soooo unfair:(", then you can figure out that those students are idiots. If they actually have useful reviews, it can help you figure out the teachers that are best for you.




Ryette

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#4 11 years ago

Absolutely not. Especially with high school students, the chances of it being truly effective are slim to none. This is primarily because students usually fall victim to the opinion of a crowd (i.e., a few people hate a certain teacher, and the rest follow), or are simply too ignorant to give constructive criticism.

College students would have a better time with judging their teachers, but at the same time, I've seen immaturity from undergraduates that are unrivaled by some high school students. The fact that "sexy" is an acceptable assessment is even more troublesome.

If students truly feel the need to express their opinions of a teacher, they should have it done so at the school rather than on the internet.




Guest

I didn't make it!

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#5 11 years ago

who cares? its not like their opnions matter the only opions that seem to matter are the ones from the guys higher coporate ladder (celebrites, lawers, bankers, ect)




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 11 years ago

Sure, the government does it all the time and publishes the results, seeing as how the OFSTED reports are so crooked this is probably just as accurate if not more so.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#7 11 years ago

Ryette;3843101Absolutely not. Especially with high school students, the chances of it being truly effective are slim to none. This is primarily because students usually fall victim to the opinion of a crowd (i.e., a few people hate a certain teacher, and the rest follow), or are simply too ignorant to give constructive criticism.

College students would have a better time with judging their teachers, but at the same time, I've seen immaturity from undergraduates that are unrivaled by some high school students. The fact that "sexy" is an acceptable assessment is even more troublesome.

If students truly feel the need to express their opinions of a teacher, they should have it done so at the school rather than on the internet.

You do realize that when viewing the comments, you can look for the ones that give information, and avoid the opinions or unsupported statements, right? granted, it is difficult on sites that only give you 250 characters, but for every 4 or 5 comments, you can normally find at least one that is fairly good.




Mephistopheles

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#8 11 years ago
Crazy Wolf;3843034Sure, in the USA, we use "ratemyteacher.com" or something like that, and it helps you get an idea not only what the teacher is like, bu what the school is. If the only posts you see are "OMG she sucks she didn't give me an A when I got 70%!" or simply "soooo unfair:(", then you can figure out that those students are idiots. If they actually have useful reviews, it can help you figure out the teachers that are best for you.

The protection of privacy is a very important right in Germany. If you work for a commercial company and want your name posted on the internet, so be it.

But why should the names of teachers from public schools be published on the internet if they don't agree with it? Should there be an evaluation of police officers and other civil servants on the internet as well?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#9 11 years ago

We pay the wages of the police and other civil servants, how are we to assess our investment if, in the line of executing their duties, they are not open to assessment?




Mephistopheles

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#10 11 years ago

I understand your concern. But would you like to have your private data be posted on the INTERNET? Maybe I am a little bit paranoid but I refuse to give out private data to millions (billions?) of people as far as possible.

Because I have to deal with the private data of citizens every day. Do civil servants not have civil rights like the protection of (their) privacy?




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