Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?

Imagine handing your teacher their report card: An A- in engagement, a B in humor, and a C+ in personality. Sounds weird, right? Grading your teachers seems like a good idea to some students, and most teachers agree to a certain extent. Students’ ability to give feedback on their teachers could also have many benefits.

When asked whether or not students should be able to grade their teachers, sophomore Katie Laird believes they should. She states, “Teachers and students have a codependent relationship in which the students learn from the teachers, but the teachers can also learn to have better teaching habits or new [points of view].”

Freshman Jack McNally agrees, saying, “Student[s’] voices need to be heard by the teachers.”

On the other hand, teachers’ input doesn’t differ much from that of the students. Many of the interviewed teachers, choosing to remain anonymous, state that because students have to interact with their teachers every day, it is important to give feedback on how well they’re doing. Additionally, one teacher states that grading wouldn’t necessarily be needed, it could be more like feedback.

Currently in the state of Illinois, districts must have a framework for evaluating teachers that is backed up by some sort of research. In District 87, this framework is called the Danielson Framework for Teaching, which is divided into four domains with twenty-two sub-categories. The major domains consist of planning and preparation, environment, instruction, and professionalism. The person who does the the teacher evaluation comes from our administration. This is the person in the back of your class with a clipboard or laptop. 

Principal Dr. Monaghan states, “I don’t think [The Danielson Framework] is enough. Teachers need to have the mindset of continual improvement, not improvement just while they’re being evaluated.” When asked if he thinks students should be able to formally grade their teachers, Dr. Monaghan says, “It could be a good idea to add student opinion to the framework, however [teachers] could be mischaracterized. You’re asking for feedback from people who have no education in teaching; there are some holes in the theory.”

The “holes in the theory” can be translated to students anonymously saying whatever they desire about their teachers. This can become a problem because it can turn into something about popularity rather than effective teaching.

A website called is the place students can go to “rate” their teacher anonymously. With three clicks, you can find Glenbard West High School and see how every teacher is rated by anonymous users. There’s no sign-in or fee–one can just say whatever comes to mind. This raises the question: is this website about constructive criticism or just being able to rant? And that is the concern many have if students’ ratings of teachers become a part of their evaluations.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done intensive research into teacher evaluations. Their research has shown that with classroom evaluations as well as student surveys, teachers and students alike have shown to improve. This system provides a balance between students anonymously ranting about their teachers and an administrator coming in once a year to grade a teacher for one class period.

Senior Claire Wild states, “Student commentary on teachers could act as feedback on the progress that is being made in implementing the growth mindset in classrooms, an initiative currently in progress by teachers’ superiors. Furthermore, it also could be [an indication] of the teacher’s strengths and flaws.” Interviewed teachers also commented saying that this feedback could strengthen the student-teacher relationship.

Some teachers already have ways to improve their craft. Often educators at West send out a survey to their students that help them see what they can work on and what their strengths are. Although teachers have already been through many years of education, many still want to learn and grow.  

According to Claire Wild, “A good teacher can inspire, empower, and completely transform the minds of students.”

Dr. Monaghan says he “[w]ould characterize [good teaching] maybe as three things. One is clarity and communication, which is shown to be one of the most important things a teacher can do. Teachers need to say, ‘let me explain to you what I’m going to teach.’ Another important quality is the ability to give feedback. And the final thing is respect with kids. The understanding that kids feel like you like them and that you like what you’re doing in order to create a classroom of respect and learning.”