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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Web site publicizes grading information

City College staff and faculty cry foul

Jessica Kelly | Staff Writer
[email protected]

Some City College students and faculty are up in arms over a controversial Web site that posts professor’s grades and they fear it could lead to class cancellations and termination of adjunct professors.

The Web site responsible for the dispute that prompted a flurry of emails and a forum in the Learning Resource Center on March 5 is According to the site’s homepage‚ “Pick-a-Prof is a socio-academic utility that helps college students make educated decisions about professors and classes.”

The most offensive aspect of the Web site, according to those at the forum, is how college professors’
grades are made public. In fact, Pick-a-Prof requested access to City College grades in fall 2008, citing the California Open Records Act as justification.

According to Dr. Elaine Ader, the dean of Information Technology at City College, the school had no choice but to comply because of state law.

Robert Perrone, the executive director of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, the union for City College faculty, claims this Web site risks the rights of teachers in many ways.
“The Web site essentially appeals to the basic interest of students, which is ‘what is the easiest class, what professor is the easiest?’” Perrone said. “While that may not be what in fact happens, the Web site itself appeals to that.”
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According to Perrone, if all students chose easy classes, some professors may feel pressured to grade conveniently in hopes of boosting enrollment. This would also ensure that courses taught by teachers deemed “tough” would see a drop in enrollment and could lead to class cancellations.

“If classes start getting canceled, students will have less class options and waitlists will increase,” said City College graduate Lindsay Davis.

There’s also fear that adjunct professors will be terminated because of lack of enrollment.

“The only way that adjuncts could be impacted is if you had an adjunct professor who is a very tough grader, students might choose to avoid taking that professor,” said adjunct biology professor Brian Gillespie.

Nonetheless, many students are excited about Pick-a-Prof. A person can register for free on the Pick-a-Prof Web site, and then look up professors’ names and the courses they teach. The Web site provides statistical charts of the grades given by professors in each course.

Out of a random sample of 70 City College students, 48 said they would use to help them choose classes, and 20 said they would not. Two students were undecided.

“If students are using it to get a balanced view of an instructor then it can be useful,” said ELS professor JoAnna Prado. “It’s nice to know that you’re going to have a good teacher.”

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