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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)

Motivation:

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.

Goal:

I wanted a systematic and consistent assessment of student performance.

Methods/Tools:

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.

Implementation:

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.

Impact/Results:

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.

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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