Monday, March 2, 2015

Putting the Accent on Ratings

Inside Higher Ed runs an article (about an article) concerning student ratings of Asian-named instructors:

Last month, a study documented the extent to which students use different sets of words (many of them with gender implications) to discuss their male and female professors. Now a new study looks at how students on Rate My Professors rate instructors who have Asian-sounding last names, and the results suggest that these instructors are getting significantly lower scores than those with other last names in Rate My Professors' categories of clarity and helpfulness...

Many [Asian-named instructors] have accents, [said the study's author]. But they are not actually difficult to understand if one makes a little effort. He said that he is concerned that simply having an accent is being viewed as negative. Students appear to be "pushing back against this extra labor of interacting with their instructor, to overcome this extra difficulty that they face with someone who doesn't share their background." He added that "this is a big problem for an institution that wants to be an international university." ...

Full article at

It would be interesting if, as part of some future "campus climate" study, someone took a look at this issue at UC campuses.

In the meantime, our advice to students:

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