Hot, Easy Professors Get Highest Ratings

A recent study of the professorial ratings posted on a popular website shows that perceived “hotness” is the chief predictor of ratings, followed by perceived easiness of grading.

If you’re not sexy, you might want to be easy.

At least if you’re a professor concerned about your rating on James Felton, a professor of finance and law at Central Michigan University, and colleagues looked at ratings for nearly 7,000 faculty members from 370 institutions in the United States and Canada, and his verdict is: the hotter and easier professors are, the more likely they’ll get rated as a good teacher.

A good discussion follows in the comments section as to what all this means, with one respondent going so far as to say that these factors should be considered by hiring committees. One commentor suspects that attractive students are also likely to receive a boost in grades from professors.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. of to take the worst stuff down. Nor did she follow the example of valiant professors from the social sciences who have performed complex statistical analyses of’s data and drawn all sorts of conclusions, including the highly obvious one that students are inclined to give top ratings to attractive easy markers. No, instead Tearfree decided she was going to go up against using their own dubious tactics. Thus, since the beginning of 2006, whenever she finds herself with a free moment while sitting in front of someone else’s computer —

  2. Looks likeyou aren’t alone.

  3. […] Update 2: It occurs to me that it would be interesting to see what direction her student evals take after this. […]