Assess Speeches


Assess Speeches

Posted on April 13, 2009

Assess Speeches


In many secondary classrooms, students not only study written communication, but also oral. When teaching speeches and presentations, consider what traits you want to assess. Ideally you will want to develop an oral presentation rubric with the whole class. If the students help generate the rubric, they better understand all the components. If the teacher makes the assessment tool and then gives it to the students, it's in his/her language and often includes skills the students don't understand.

Work as a class to create an "oral presentation" rubric. Some of the traits might include:

  • Ideas/Content: How meaty was the speech, including reasons, examples, facts, etc. Was the information accurate?

  • Organization: Was the opening of the speech attention getting? Was the closing satisfying? Were the order and flow and transitions logical? Did all the ideas seem to link together easily?

  • Voice/Attitude: How passionate was the speaker about "selling" his own idea/concept? How "into" the presentation was he? How engaging was he to listen to?

  • Articulation: How easy was it to understand the presenter's words (mumbling vs. polished, clear speaking vs. slang phrases and "you knows" and "ums")?

  • Physical Appearance: How relaxed did the speaker appear? Was his body movement relaxed and comfortable or stiff and mechanical? Did the speaker move throughout the room easily or stand stiffly behind the podium? Did the speaker make eye contact or rely too heavily on his notes?

Remember the above are just five potential traits of an oral presentation rubric. Use some or all of these traits to build an entire rubric (high, middle, low). Develop criteria or descriptions for each trait at each level of the rubric. Make it clear what each of these traits looks like at all levels of the rubric.

Once the rubric is built, make sure students utilize it to self- and peer-assess, along with the teacher's assessment of their speeches.