Rating Scale for Assessing Persuasive Presentations-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

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


I teach oral presentation skills in these courses because I believe that it is crucial for students to practice these skills 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’ oral presentation skills.


I constructed a rating scale that decomposed the oral presentation 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 components on the rubric reflect this. Each component is described as a set of measurable behaviors, which are scored on a numerical scale. During a presentation, I complete the rating scale and add my own written feedback. I give this feedback to the student at the end of 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 oral presentation skills. It has also made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


During oral presentations, in addition to scoring students’ presentations using this rating scale, I ask other students in the class to evaluate the presentations qualitatively using an audience reviewer sheet; this ensures that the students pay closer attention to the presentation and reflect on their own performance in relation to the feedback they are providing for their classmates (feedback from other students does not count toward the presenting student’s grade, however). Because each student gives four to six presentations during 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’ oral presentation skills is a standard course component.

CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!