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Rating Scale for Assessing Oral Presentations in a Graduate-level Finance Course

Name: Robert Dammon, Tepper School of Business
Scope: Course - 45901 Corporate Restructuring, Tepper School of Business
Assessment Tool:  Presentation Rating Scale


What factors/data/circumstances initiated the action?

I wanted to include an oral presentation activity in the class because I believed it was important for the students to get more practice applying their communication skills; this oral presentation would reflect the analysis of one of the written assignments. I also wanted to develop a way to maintain grading consistency for these oral presentations within the class and across semesters.


What did you hope to learn from the assessment?

I wanted a systematic and consistent assessment of student performance.


How was the data collected?

I constructed a rating scale that decomposed the oral presentation activity into four major components: (1) preparation, (2) quality of handouts and overheads, (3) quality of presentation skills, and (4) quality of analysis. I also included a section for general written comments. Preparation was rated as “yes” or “no.” The quality of handouts and overheads, presentation skills, and quality of analysis were rated on a 5-point scale where 1=poor and 5=excellent.


How was the assessment activity carried out?

Students work in groups to analyze and present a corporate finance case. Each group determines the division of labor—for example, which group members will do the analysis, the presentation, and the written report.

Who were the participants?

This is a graduate-level course in advanced finance. All students must participate in a group, although not every group member must be involved with the oral presentation.

When was/will the data be collected?

While the chosen group members present their analysis, I take written notes on the presentation. Immediately after class, I complete the rating scale.

What is the current status of the assessment?

I have used the rating scale for a few years, and the oral presentation activity is a standard component of the course.

What was the data, and how was it analyzed/interpreted?

After the class in which the presentation was given, I use the notes to complete the rating scale.


How is the data being used? How has the data informed or changed current practice?

Based on the ratings and my comments, I calculate an overall score for the presentation. This score accounts for 20% of the group’s case grade.


I have considered adapting the instrument so that other students also rate the oral presentation. However, I would want to shorten the rating scale to about 4 items so that students focus primarily on the presentation and do not get distracted by completing the rating scale.

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