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Are Student Ratings Important?
by Silence Dogood

I can’t say that I recommend the RATE MY PROFESSORS website. A lot of the time, I think it is just an outlet for frustrated students to vent their frustration. Truthfully, until last Wednesday, I had never looked at the website. But I was curious and just for fun decided to take a look to see what I might find. I looked first at St. Cloud State University.

Not really understanding what a 3.4 might mean, for comparison I looked at Minnesota State University—Mankato rankings, the university most similar to SCSU in the Minnesota State System.

Based on these overall rankings, which are not scientifically valid, SCSU comes out ahead of only Metropolitan State University in the overall quality rating!

For each and every measure, SCSU trails MSU—Mankato. Most significantly, in the safety ranking 3.0 vs. 3.8. But for the reputation measure, I was a bit miffed at SCSU’s reputation ranking of 3.1 vs. MSU—Mankato’s 3.4.

Next, I decided to look at the rest of the universities in the Minnesota State System.

However, what is clearly unsettling is that SCSU trails ALL of the universities in the Minnesota State System in the ranking for reputation:

These rankings may be anecdotal and have some validity issues. However, students use them. And they use them a lot!

For many years, administrators have said that SCSU hasn’t done a good job ‘telling its story.’ And in the past that may have been true. However, many of these same administrators and their replacements have been saying this for so long that it is hard to believe that they haven’t been held accountable for not doing a better job of telling SCSU’s story. Unless of course you believe that just saying that ‘they’ haven’t done a good job telling the story is explanation enough. It almost seems this explanation is good enough for the titanic enrollment drop since FY10. With no end in sight for the enrollment drop, it might be reasonable to ask is anyone ever held accountable at SCSU?

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