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Rating Scale for Assessing Persuasive Presentations

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


Since I teach presentation skills, I believe it is crucial to accurately assess those skills. Furthermore, students appreciate knowing the details of how I determine their grades.


I wanted a systematic and consistent assessment of student performance.


I constructed a rating scale that decomposed the oral presentation activity into five major components: (1) content and argument impact, (2) structural and organizational impact, (3) vocal impact, (4) non-verbal impact, and (5) visual image impact. Since the focus is on persuasiveness, all dimensions reflect the persuasive impact of the presentation. Each of these components is divided into a series of measurable behaviors. All behaviors are scored on a 0-2 or 0-3 numerical scale for a total of 100 points.


While a student is giving an oral presentation, I score it using the dimensions in the rubric. Other students also score the presentation, but they use a modified form rating only one of the five major components so they can still pay attention to the presentation. I use this form in two courses on communication, an MBA-level course and an undergraduate-level course. Each student gives four to six presentations every semester. 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 their future efforts. Because students give several presentations during 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 since 1996, and the oral presentation activity is a standard component of the course.


Students get their feedback immediately after the presentation. They also receive feedback from their peers, but student feedback does not count toward the presentation grade. 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 presentation skills. For myself, it has made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


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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