Speech Evaluation Criteria

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Criteria for Evaluating Informative and Persuasive Speeches

For more information on this Modified Point System Grading, read a summary of pros and cons of this method.

The following rubric for assessing speeches is based on a 100-point scale. To translate to letter grades for subsections, use the following table as a guide.

10 points
9 = A
8 = B
7 = C
6 = D

15 points
13.5 = A
12 = B
10.5 = C
9 = D

20 points
18 = A
16 = B
14 = C
12 = D

30 points
27 = A
24 = B
21 = C
19 = D


For all sections:
(F) = item is not evident in outline or presentation
(D) = an attempt has been made to include item in either outline or presentation

Outline and References (10 Points Possible)

Purpose Statement Clear

(C) = Purpose has been expressed as a statement, using a full phrase, and presents one distinct idea.
(B) = In addition, it has been stated such that it is relevant and adapted to the appropriate audience
(A) = In addition, linguistic devices have been used in presentation of purpose

Follows Outline Format

(C) = Has a clear separation of points, points are written in full sentences, has a consistent pattern of indentation, includes written transitions, previews, summaries, and has few writing errors
(B) = In addition, it includes phrases that connect the parts of the speech so they flow together, the connections between ideas are logical and evidence directly supports the ideas
(A) = In addition, it is thorough, creative and employs a unique treatment of the topic

References Correct/Sufficient

(C) = A minimum of four sources in APA format on the reference page, with few mistakes
(B) = In addition, sources cited are from credible and qualified sources
(A) = In addition, sources provide insightful perspective to the issue(s)

Introduction (20 Points Possible)

Gained Attention

(C) = Began with an attention getting device that prepared the audience to listen to a speech on the topic
(B) = In addition, it created a need to listen to the rest of the speech and flowed well into the relevance statement
(A) = In addition, it is creative, original, and highly motivating

Showed Relevance of Topic to Audience

(C) = The importance of the topic is established
(B) = In addition, the importance of the topic is related to the audience and well integrated
(A) = In addition, it is of significant importance to the audience

Established Credibility

(C) = Student clearly states why he or she is competent to speak on the topic
(B) = In addition, the statement is well integrated into the introduction and presents a logical argument for speaker credibility
(A) = In addition, statement is a unique and creative way of presenting a personal connection to the topic

Introduced Topic/Thesis Statement Clearly

(C) = Statement is direct and leaves little or no room for confusion about topic
(B) = In addition, statement flows very well into the preview
(A) = In addition, it has been worded powerfully and in a way that demonstrates a unique approach to the topic

Previewed Body of Speech

(C) = Preview fits well with the topic/thesis statement and clearly (and briefly) states exactly what each main point will be about
(B) = In addition, preview logically follows from the thesis/topic statement and flows well into the opening transition
(A) = In addition, it uses powerful and creative language tailored to the topic

Body (30 Points Possible)

Main Points Clear

(C) = Main points are easy to identify
(B) = In addition, main points are well integrated and each is an independent idea
(A) = In addition, main points are made exceptionally clear with the use of internal transitions and previews, as well as signposting

Strong Evidence and Supporting Material

(C)= A minimum of four sources have been used for evidence and sources have been orally identified
(B) = In addition, the supporting material furthers the argument and a link between the evidence and the claims has been provided
(A) = In addition, creative language has been used to introduce evidence

Organization Effective

(C) = The quantity and arrangement of the issues is appropriate to the topic
(B) = In addition, the issues are organized to meet the specific purpose of the speech
(A) = In addition, sentences are carefully constructed, have parallel structure, and include repetition of language

Language Precise, Clear, Powerful

(C) = Language has been used accurately, clearly, and appropriately with heavy use of concrete and familiar words.
(B) = In addition, clutter (superfluous words) is absent from the presentation, demonstrating an economy of language use
(A) = In addition, language is used vividly, employing imagery, clear metaphors, and a smooth rhythm.

Transitions Effective

(C) = Transitions are used to connect main points
(B) = In addition, transitions use full sentences and briefly state what was just talked about and what will now be talked about
(A) = In addition, transitions are references to other devices (preview, attention getter, etc.), and make use of metaphor.

Sources Are Well Integrated, Credible, and Cited Fully

(C) = The author (source, if author unavailable) and date of information have been provided
(B) = In addition, the source references are placed just before the information being cited, and are relevant to the topic
(A) = In addition, sources are from a reputable source, are fully cited, and include evidence of source credibility

Conclusion (10 Points Possible)

Audience Prepared for Conclusion

(C) = Speaker has made a statement that suggests he/she is moving into the conclusion
(B) = In addition, the statement flows well from the body and into the review
(A) = In addition, speaker has used language to make the statement creative and unique

Purpose and Main Points Reviewed

(C) = The main points have been briefly noted and no new information has been presented
(B) = In addition, links have been provided that bridge the gas between transition and review, and the review to the closing statement
(A) = In addition, it is not just a restatement of the opening preview

Closed Speech by Reference to Introduction/Other Devices

(C) = One final sentence is provided after review that closes speech
(B) = In addition, a link has been provided between reference to attention getter and/or closing thought
(A) = In addition, closing thought is a quotation (or other device) related to the topic that signals the end of the speech

Delivery (15 Points Possible)

Maintained Eye Contact

(C) = Speaker maintained eye contact with audience for at least half the time of the speech
(B) = In addition, eye contact was purposeful, pleasant, comfortable and established with most of the audience
(A) = In addition, eye contact was maintained for almost the whole speech

Uses Voice, Diction and Rate for Maximum Effect

(C) = Majority of words have been pronounced and articulated properly
(B) = In addition, vocal variety has been employed to highlight key information
(A) = In addition, voice, diction and rate demonstrate the speaker’s enthusiasm and interest in the topic

Used Space, Movement, and Gestures for Emphasis

(C) = Delivery had few distracting gestures, movements, or body shifting
(B) = In addition, space and movement was used to transition between points, and gestures to add emphasis
(A) = In addition, use of space, movement and gestures clearly demonstrated the speaker’s enthusiasm for the topic

Overall Impression (15 Points Possible)

Challenging Topic

(C) = Topic is consistent with assignment
(B) = In addition, the speech provides audience with new and relevant insight into the topic
(A)= In addition, the speech made a genuine contribution to the thinking of the audience about the topic

Adapted to Audience

(C) = An attempt was made to adapt topic to audience
(B) = In addition, several references to audience were integrated throughout presentation
(A) = In addition, a high degree of rapport was established through exceptional adaptation of topic to the specific audience

Evidence of Preparation and Practice

(C) = Speech must have been delivered extemporaneously, notes conformed to instructor requirements
(B) = In addition, speaker did not rely heavily on note cards and was clearly ready to present the speech
(A) = In addition, speaker displayed poise and confidence indicative of a well-practiced speech

Maintained Time Limits

(C) = The speech was delivered within the time limits
(B) = In addition, an appropriate balance of time was spent on each idea
(A) = In addition, the speech was fully developed within the time limits

Quality and Relevance of Visual Aids

(C) = Correct numbers of visuals were used
(B) = In addition, visuals could be seen clearly and were devoid of distractions, clutter, and a link was presented to connect visual to issue being discussed
(A) = In addition, the visuals were used to help audience understand difficult material

Was Informative

(C) = Speech was of the type assigned
(B) = In addition, information was easy to understand
(A) = In addition, speech added interesting and new information to the audience’s body of knowledge

Developed by Cheri Simonds and Stephen Hunt, Illinois State University