Princeton Review ranks Iowa State high on ‘Professors Get Low Marks’ list

By Katherine Klingseis, katherine.klingseis@iowastatedaily.com

ISU professors get low marks, according to Princeton Review.

Princeton Review, a test preparation and admissions consulting company, recently ranked Iowa State as number 10 on its “Professors Get Low Marks” list.

The “Professor Get Low Marks” list is one of 63 lists that Princeton Review publishes annually. A few examples of other lists are: “Students Study the Most,” “Most Politically Active,” “Dorms Like Palaces” and “Lots of Beer.”

Princeton Review compiles these lists annually after surveying college students from America’s 376 Best Colleges. David Soto, director of College Rankings and Ratings for Princeton Review, said Princeton Review chooses the best colleges based on academic rigor.

“You’re looking at the cream of the crop,” Soto said. “Only 15 percent of colleges make the list.”

Soto said 122,000 students were surveyed to create this year’s lists. He said he did not know the exact number of ISU students who completed the list, but he did say that 375 students from each of the 376 colleges completed surveys on average.

Princeton Review contacts administrators from each of the “best colleges” to distribute and promote student surveys. Students can take surveys at http://survey.review.com all year, and their answers are calculated for the next year’s lists.

Soto said the surveys ask various questions regarding students’ lives. He explained that they use a Likert scale for their surveys, in which the surveys ask to what extent a student disagrees or agrees with a statement.

In order to create the “Professors Get Low Marks” list, Princeton Review asked respondents if they agreed that their instructors were good teachers. ISU students disagreed with that statement more, or in a greater frequency, than students from other colleges. Soto said Iowa State has landed in the top 20 on the “Professors Get Low Marks” list for the past six years, reaching number seven in 2006.

Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Hill said he doesn’t fear the list causing potential students to decide against going to Iowa State. He said that, when students come to Experience Iowa State, they will realize the quality of the ISU faculty.

“They will look at [the list], and then look at reality,” Hill said.

Hill said that he realizes some students are looking for reasons to not go to Iowa State, and that the list may affect their decision. However, he said, judging from the record enrollment this year, the list doesn’t appear to have deterred too many students from coming to Iowa State.

“I think it shows that students are using good sound judgment when choosing a school,” Hill said.

Regardless of the placement on the list, Hill stands by the high quality of the ISU faculty.

“Iowa State is an excellent institution, and that’s because of its excellent students and excellent professors,” he said. “We don’t need to lose sight of that.”

(Posted originally on Iowastatedaily.com on Aug. 25, 2011)

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