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Rating Scale for Assessing Listening Skills

Name: Thomas Hajduk, Tepper School of Business
Scope: Course - 45793 Management Presentations;
Course - 70345 Business Presentations, Tepper School of Business
Assessment Tool:  Rating Scale for Listening Skills (pdf)

Motivation:

One key business communication skill is to be able to listen effectively. Therefore, I believe it is crucial to practice and accurately assess this skill. Furthermore, students appreciate knowing the details of how I determine their grades.

Goal:

I wanted a systematic and consistent assessment of student performance.

Methods/Tools:

I constructed a rating scale that decomposes the effective listening into two major components: (1) verbal indicators and (2) non-verbal indicators. Each component is divided into a series of measurable behaviors. All behaviors are scored on a 0-7 or 0-8 numerical scale for a total of 100 points.

Implementation:

I use class discussions as opportunities to rate students’ listening skills. I focus on a few students every day, and I let them know in advance when they are being evaluated. I use this form in two courses on interpersonal communication, an MBA-level course and an undergraduate-level course. I fill in the form as students participate in discussions. My feedback to the students includes the numerical scores and the notes that I scribble in the margins. I also use a highlighter to underscore the most important feedback, so students can prioritize the feedback. Because students lead several meetings throughout the semester, I interpret the scores not only in an absolute sense, as snapshots of students’ strengths and weaknesses at a given time, but also developmentally, looking at students’ improvement over time. I have used this rating scale for years, and class discussions are a standard component of the course.

Impact/Results:

Students get their feedback immediately after the discussion. The impact has been two-fold, to student learning and to my own teaching. For students, they can see their progress, especially if they have been working on a particular aspect of their listening skills. For myself, it has made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.

Comments:

I update the form periodically to reflect new research in rhetoric and communication as well as benchmarks in the business field.

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