Given the growing popularity of professor ratings websites and common departmental policies to keep official professor survey responses confidential, an important concern is the validity of these online ratings. A comparison of student responses to official end-of-semester teaching evaluations and unofficial professor ratings on two widely used websites at UC Berkeley (Rate My Professor and Ninja Courses) indicates that online ratings are significantly lower than their official counterparts. There is also relatively high correlation between official evaluations and online ratings, with most coefficients between 0.4 and 0.7. Similar downward bias was found in other American institutions (Rice University and Harvard University). Some of the bias in Rate My Professor is due to single ratings and early ratings, but similar results are found for Ninja Courses, which has stricter policies regarding posting. Ratings from both websites are not significantly correlated with grade...
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