Make Assessing Easier with a Rubric
The rubric that you use to assess your student presentations needs to be clear and easy to read by your students. A well-thought out rubric will also make it easier to grade speeches.
Before directing students to create a presentation, you need to tell them how they will be evaluated with the rubric. For every rubric, there are certain criteria listed or specific areas to be assessed. For the rubric download that is included, the following are the criteria: content, eye contact, volume and clarity, flow, confidence and attitude, visual aids, and time.
Assessment Tool Explained in Detail
Content: The information in the speech should be organized. It should have an engaging introduction that grabs the audience’s attention. The body of the speech should include details, facts and statistics to support the main idea. The conclusion should wrap up the speech and leave the audiences with something to remember.
In addition, the speech should be accurate. Teachers should decide how students should cite their sources if they are used. These should be turned in at the time of the speech. Good speakers will mention their sources during the speech.
Last, the content should be clear. The information should be understandable for the audience and not confusing or ambiguous.
Students eyes should not be riveted to the paper or note cards that they prepare for the presentation. It is best if students write talking points on their note cards. These are main points that they want to discuss. If students write their whole speech on the note cards, they will be more likely to read the speech word-for-word, which is boring and usually monotone.
Students should not stare at one person or at the floor. It is best if they can make eye contact with everyone in the room at least once during the presentation. Staring at a spot on the wall is not great, but is better than staring at their shoes or their papers.
Volume and Clarity
Students should be loud enough so that people sitting in the back of the room can hear and understand them. They should not scream or yell. They need to practice using their diaphragm to project their voice.
Clarity means not talking too fast, mumbling, slurring or stuttering. When students are nervous, this tends to happen. Practice will help with this problem.
When speaking, the speaker should not have distracting pauses during the speech. Sometimes a speaker may pause for effect; this is to tell the audience that what he or she is going to say next is important. However, when students pause because they become confused or forget the speech, this is distracting.
Another problem is verbal fillers. Student may say “um," “er" or “uh" when they are thinking or between ideas. Some people do it unintentionally when they are nervous.
If students chronically say “um" or use any type of verbal filler, they first need to be made aware of the problem while practicing. To fix this problem, a trusted friend can point out when they doing during practice. This will help students be aware when they are saying the verbal fillers.
Confidence and Attitude
When students speak, they should stand tall and exude confidence to show that what they are going to say is important. If they are nervous or are not sure about their speech, they should not slouch. They need to give their speech with enthusiasm and poise. If it appears that the student does not care about his or her topic, why should the audience? Confidence can many times make a boring speech topic memorable.
The visual that a student uses should aid the speech. This aid should explain a facts or an important point in more detail with graphics, diagrams, pictures or graphs.
These can be presented as projected diagrams, large photos, posters, electronic slide presentations, short clips of videos, 3-D models, etc. It is important that all visual aids be neat, creative and colorful. A poorly executed visual aid can take away from a strong speech.
One of the biggest mistakes that students make is that they do not mention the visual aid in the speech. Students need to plan when the visual aid will be used in the speech and what they will say about it.
Another problem with slide presentations is that students read word-for-word what is on each slide. The audience can read. Students need to talk about the slide and/or offer additional information that is not on the slide.
The teacher needs to set the time limit. Some teachers like to give a range. For example, the teacher can ask for short speeches to be1-2 minutes or 2-5 minutes. Longer ones could be 10-15 minutes. Many students will not speak long enough while others will ramble on way beyond the limit. The best way for students to improve their time limit is to practice.
The key to a good speech is for students to write out an outline, make note cards and practice. The speech presentation rubric allows your students to understand your expectations.
- A Research Guide.com. Chapter 3. Public Speaking.
- 10 Fail Proof Tips for Delivering a Powerful Speech by K. Stone on DumbLittleMan.
- Photo credit: Kellie Hayden
- Planning Student Presentations by Laura Goering for Carleton College.