Grading an Oral Presentation at the College Level

Part of the grading process includes determining how engaging the presentation is for the audience.
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To properly and effectively grade an oral presentation at the college level, use a rubric. The rubric allows instructors to consider several factors -- including preparation, subject knowledge, organization, and whether or not the presentation is engaging -- when assigning a grade.

1 Preparation

The amount of preparation a student invests in his presentation is manifested in the final product. Preparation can be measured through in-class observations, as well as through the presentation itself. There are several aspects to consider for this section of the grade: punctuality, length of presentation, fluidity of presentation and use of props and supplements.

2 Organization

The presentation's organization can be measured by determining whether the transitions are logical and whether there is a clear objective. A well-organized presentation will have a strong introduction and a thoughtful conclusion, will communicate proper knowledge of the material and will provide specific examples throughout. Strong organizational structures include topical, chronological, classification, problem/solution and cause/effect organization.

3 How Engaging Is It?

Enthusiasm, eye contact and use of time are all factors that contribute to making the presentation engaging to the audience. Students should not rush through the presentation, which can cause the content to be unintelligible and parts to be skipped over and sloppily revisited. Also, while grading, the instructor can take into account whether the student incorporates visual aids into the presentation.

4 Peer Assessments

Providing students with a grading rubric with which to evaluate their peers gives them insight into what factors to focus on and develop in their own presentations. Ultimately, this helps instructors by raising the overall quality of the students' work, and provides better insight into the students' preparation -- in particular if it's a group assignment.

Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.