Is Our College Students Learning?

Today, college students can dish out grades to their professors. General websites such as or university specific websites such as prompt students to judge professors by such categories as: overall quality, degree of difficulty, fair grading, workload, level of fun and caring for students.

At first glance these websites seem to offer a valuable service. Students considering choosing a class may wonder: Who is the professor lurking behind that enticing course description? Does he or she know her subject matter? Does the course really cover the materials indicated? Is it intellectually challenging? The websites contain numerical ratings and often detailed written comments by students.

Yet the websites ignore the issue of whether students are in a position to judge a professor's competence. Can a student, reading Tolstoy for the first time, accurately judge a professor's knowledge of the subject?

There's also a possibility of sour grapes. Does a student's course grade bias his or her course evaluation? Valen E. Johnson (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2003), in his in-depth study of student evaluations of teaching, Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education, thought so and seriously doubts the value of student evaluations. In fact, he linked them to growing grade inflation.

Most educators have ignored student course evaluations for the insights they give to a more important question: Is our college students learning?

The following collection of student evaluations, taken from the above websites, attempts to redress this deficiency:

This lady is ridiculous, she expects all students to understand the course material. If you do, this class won't be too bad, if not, you're in the dark the whole time. Not to mention her random outbursts by pointing at people asking "Are you with me?" The first couple of classes she was funny/entertaining, but that effect definitely wears off and she seems very annoying.

Doesn't teach you MATLAB, just expects you to figure it out yourself.

... awful teacher, expects the whole class to know what shes talking about, impossible tests

Absolutley tried my ass of in this class... Attended every class except two, participated in class discussions, and handed every paper in on time. ...And guess what? ...A freakin C...

she effectively teaches how to have a pessimistic outlook on life. she does explain well that you should not believe everything you hear but that is something that should be learned in life not paying for it in a classroom. my philosophy is to live life and enjoy what you can out of it. and i personally believe she is wasting her life finding the things wrong with the world which she is passing on to her students. would not take class unless necessary


(comment on a course on John Steinbeck) I have learned NOTHING and being required to read 8 steinbeck novels in 10 weeks is absurd. I have to read them so quickly that I don't understand what I'm reading and not even that, but they are the worst books I've ever read.

Boring boring class, but very easy grader. I plan on taking her again for English 103 just because she is easy.

I liked this class. There's a lot of easy writing and reading to do but all you have to do is answer the easy questions and participate in the first weeks to get on her good side becuse she likes to play favoritism. Oh, and one time, she made us read 100+ pgs for the next class and no one did it. She got mad but eased up on the workload.

Easiest class I have ever taken!! LOVED the teacher... he made it fun and easy... all you have to do for ANY of his classes is go to class and participate in the discussion.

Who listens in history anyway. The guy's an easy grader. 60 point curves.

Very good prof, cares for students, you don't really have to do any work, or come to class he will steel give you A+, very talented professor.

... is a doll. She cares a lot about what she is teaching. The class was extremely easy. I'd be shocked if someone got below an A- in the class. All we did was online blogs and it was like writing a talk for church. Super easy, take her class!

... the best teacher I've ever had. Nicest man alive, loves what he teaches, loves his students and is a VERY easy grader. Just do what he asks.

... one of the best teachers out there. She always cares about her students, ... She rarely gives homework and gives you every question to each test the day before. You can submit papers early to her to have them checked, then go fix them and hand them back so you're basically guaranteed an A on them.

He's a decent teacher, but he doesn't take other people's opinions seriously. Since he's a scholar, he thinks he knows everything there is to know about a given author/piece of literature and that his view is always supreme.

She really enjoys the course material and expects you to have the same compassion for it as well.

I have known ENGLISH MAJORS who were so put off by her they wanted to switch their majors. I have known Engineers, with a hatred for books, who now because of her, will never pick one up again. Her inherent biases are so heavy, that being in her class is like banging your head against a wall. No matter how well you write, how much improvement you show, of how nice you are--she will hate, humiliate and berate you.

Terrible teacher. She spends the majority of class time telling us how to write complete sentences (the last page of your notebook is for "Writing Rules").

(English honors.)... Very, very tough on any (minor or major) grammatical errors. Assumes you know every grammer rule.

This professor seems more interested in discouraging than encouraging English students. Halfway through the semester, he spent a whole hour telling me I should drop the class. He told me he does this with every student whos grades appear to be grim.

The worst teacher in the world. Make sure go to class everyday. She never misses class. She had sugery and came back the next day.

Her syllabus is crazy. Definitely way too much work for an english class.

worst class ever their was too much reading. class was boring. i think i would rather watch pain dry than be in that class. the only good thing is he didnt keep us for the full two hour required.

worst teacher ever. i dont even think she is a teacher. she is just a woman that loves heavy workloads and talks about stupid stuff that doesnt have anything to do with the class. quizzes, papers and lots of lots of reading. I will never take her again.

I don't even gett it. She's so dumb. who gave her a degree and let her teach? She just seems to talk and talk and not know what she is even saying. Everyone in the class hated her.

WORST TEACHER IN THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION. ... is extremely unfair and biased. If you approach her with questions regarding your grade, she automatically thinks you're undermining her authority. Do not take this class unless you are feeling masochistic.

She is a nice old lady. Besides that, there is really no positive to her course. I did six years worth of english in high school. Two of those years was in the University of Washington. I should have already known what to expect. See technically I have a transfer credit for English 103 so taking that course meant I was capable of taking her course. I misinterpreted the circumstances. I realized the amount of work and the return on positive feedback was no where near what I expected. I wrote a two paragraph essay pertaining to a blog review and she gave me a D-. She said my opinions aren't right. What? I recommend her if you want to learn common sense again and then be maliciously graded on. I dropped her course, it wasn't worth the hassle.

If your not into reading books longer than 'War and Peace' on a weekly basis, your probably not going to like her class. She also gives a takehome final that is just so stressful, i have to stop talking about it.

He gives a quiz each week (based directly out of the homeworks) and unless you have a brain the size of a walnut you'll do fine in his class. The problem is that he teaches most of the "slow" student's math classes, and people like to wine because they fail his class. It's not because he is a hard grader, it's because he is teaching nitwits.

Satan. I've never worked so hard in my life for a low grade. A bunch of students in my class tried to get her fired by talking to the dean... apparently it didn't work cause she is still here.

Worst professor at Drexel. She might be racist, but either way makes life impossible.

tests are impossible people studied for 4 hours and got 50's its rediculus

she was not a fair grader. overall performance on tests were poor, yet no extra credit was offered. she didnt offer any explanation to give you a clue of what your grade was and didn't say how she would curve. when asked if she could meet with me to go over what kind of grade i was looking at, she said NO.

Second week into the class and I was considering dropping the class because he would give so much work. His readings could get lenghty, but his quizzes and grading was the problem.

Honestly, worst teacher i've ever had. If you're interested in reading over 50 pages of boring bullsh*t A NIGHT (i literally had to read an entire book in 3 days, no joke), writing pointless journals, and wasting $500 of ink and paper, then you want to take her.

Overall I felt there was way too much homework that took between 4-6hrs a week.

he's a total flake. a liberal hippie loser, who's lectures only slightly have anything to do with the tests. not helpful with any problems students have.

I've never met a more brazenly bitter old woman before in my entire life. Just this week (week 8 mind you) she has assigned a 1300 word paper due next week AND we have a 400 word journal due the same day next week, AND she made us read 150+ pages of this French novel nobody cares about.

The Ugly old bat hated me because I was blond and young and stylish. If you want to be judged, hated and insulted, take her class.

This guy blows. He scheduled our exam the day after the Superbowl after we begged and pleaded him to reschedule the exam.

first of all...i cheated on the final..and i am soo proud to admit it cause there is no other way i could have gotten the grade that i got...yeah having 400 kids crammed in matheson for an exam can create problems for the T.A's cause they can't watch word to the wise in order to get a great grade in the class..cheat ur ass off...

I would not recommend this guy unless your a total book worm and enjoy reading ridiculously boring junk.

Just read the others their right on