Oral Presentation Grading

I had oral reports in class this semester. I graded them hard. Most people made As anyway, because they did exactly what I wanted. Four people earned Ds and one earned an F. (This of the people who did the reports, 46 out of 50.)

I was very hard on the grades. If you went over a full minute, you lost a letter grade. If your poster wasn’t legible from six feet away, you lost a letter grade. If you did not introduce your topic, you lost a letter grade.

One student went from a C- to a D+ (though we don’t use +/-) and really wanted to know why he didn’t make a C. The main reason was his work was late. However, he would have made a C if I had not graded so hard on the oral presentation because he did good work.

So I am rethinking my grading, again. I don’t think I will change the rubric for this semester. He is the only person whose grade would change because of it and I don’t want to encourage grade grubbing. I think if he had asked, rather than complained, I might have been willing to do it, though. And that bothers me.

So I need to be more forethoughtful about the presentation grades.

MsMicrobe, on a Chronicle forumgave these as her criteria:

1. Main topic controversy identified
2. Adequate background
3. Organization of talk is clear to audience
4. Data presented to support ideas
5. Conclusion clear.
6. Appropriate scientific language used
7. Effectively uses visual aids
8. Effective delivery
9. Answers questions
10. On time. (with reasonable limits above and below the target time)

All of the students are expected to ask questions. I will call on someone to ask a question if none arise.

I break speaking down into confident body language and confident voice usage. I have each student fill out a feedback sheet for the speaker. They have to tell the speaker the best thing they did with body language (posture, eye contact, etc.) and what one thing they should focus on improving. They also have to praise the best thing the speaker did with their voice (speed, volume, inflection) and indicate what one area the speaker should work to improve.

I do NOT want to have to look at 50×50 feedback sheets, but I like the idea of doing it.

I am going to think about this long and hard this semester.

Fun idea
Oh, this is a good idea. And it might be fun.

Give a “bad” presentation illustrating some common problems, and let the class critique you.

from Systeme D at the same forum.

2 thoughts on “Oral Presentation Grading”

  1. One thing you could do with the feedback sheets is have the student collect their own, then write a reflection. I’ve done that before, and some students have found it very beneficial. With so many students, that will lighten your load, too; you’ll have to read the reflections, but I generally give that a holistic score of “how deeply have you thought about this”.

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