Oral Presentation Evaluations - Pros and Cons

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Five Approaches to Oral Evaluations

Effects Criterion

Did the presentation accomplish its goal? Did it sell the product/plan? Can the audience successfully answer questions about the material presented?

Pros:

  • students may agree that it is like real life
  • can be combined with other approaches

Cons:

  • may require outside judges
  • will require time to evaluate the effect
  • it is a threatening situation that increases student anxiety and may interfere with learning
  • involves complicated ethical issues

Point System

Lists expectations/criteria for grading and awards points for each.
(Example: Oral Presentation Evaluation – Teams)

Pros:

  • once critique form is developed it is simple to implement
  • allows for a quick grading response
  • form can be distributed early to allow for a clear discussion of expectations
  • students appreciate the use of numbers
  • students can see where they “lost” points
  • with training or elaboration into a fuller rubric can provide consistency among graders across sections

Cons:

  • feedback is often limited
  • it attempts to divide delivery from content
  • it offers a false sense of “objectivity” and suggests that effective speaking is a checklist of universal and distinct specific behaviors
  • can produce very low scores

Modified Point System

Lists expectations/criteria for grading in categories and then awards points for each.
(Example: Oral Presentation Evaluation - Small Groups and Speech Evaluation Criteria)

Pros:

  • form can be distributed early to allow for a clear discussion of expectations
  • students appreciate the use of numbers
  • allows for flexibility in feedback that can integrate delivery issues into each part of the assessment
  • can be developed into a complete rubric that creates a strong grading consistency

Cons:

  • can make it hard for students to know what “cost” them points in each category
  • can create a false sense of “objectivity”
  • can produce low scores
  • full rubric can overwhelm
  • can produce cookie cutter speeches

Holistic Approach

Lists expectations/criteria for grading in categories according to general letter grade performance and then provides feedback for each particular criterion of an assignment.
(Example: Holistic Grading Overview for Oral Presentations and an Informative Speech Feedback Form)

Pros:

  • maximizes feedback and focus on student development
  • adaptable to a wide range of assignments
  • emphasizes the impact of the presentation as a whole, while providing feedback on specific issues

Cons:

  • time consuming approach to grading; appears less “objective”
  • requires confidence on the part of the graders
  • students may have a hard time understanding the grade

Peer and/or Self-Critique

Offers forms for peers to fill out for one another or for speakers to fill out after viewing a videotape.
(Examples: Oral Presentation Evaluation - Peer Critique and Peer Evaluation of Oral Presentations)

Pros:

  • spreads the work around
  • increases sense of audience as going beyond the instructor
  • self-reflection offers a great pedagogical tool
  • encourages students to set personal communication skills goals and work toward them

Cons:

  • it is complicated to convert such evaluations into letter grades
  • some peers are poor listeners or rude respondents
  • there are time and administrative challenges
  • videotaping can heighten anxiety

Submitted by Amy R. Slagell, Director of the Fundamentals of Public Speaking Program:
for ISUComm Instructor Workshop, August 17, 2004

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