Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Instructor: Thomas Hajduk
Course: 45-793: Management Presentations, 70-345: Business Presentations, Tepper School of Business
Assessment: Rating Scale for Assessing Listening Skills


A key business communication skill is the ability to listen effectively. I believe that it is crucial for students to practice this skill and to receive accurate assessments of their performance. Students also appreciate knowing the criteria that I use to determine their grades. Therefore, I wanted to create a systematic and consistent assessment of students’ listening skills.


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 described as a set of measurable behaviors, which are scored on a numerical scale. I evaluate students’ listening skills during class discussions, focusing on a few students each day and letting students know in advance when they will be evaluated. I complete the rating scale and write notes in the margins as students participate in discussion. I give the students this feedback immediately after class.


Consistent use of this rating scale allows students to see their progression, especially if they have been working on a particular aspect of their leadership skills. It has also made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


Because class discussions are held throughout the semester, I interpret the scores not only as snapshots of students’ strengths and weaknesses at a given time, but also as improvements over time. I have used and occasionally revised this rating scale for years, and evaluating students’ listening skills in class discussions is a standard course component.

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