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Assessment of Oral Presentations in a Junior-Level Communication-Intensive Course

From the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Louisiana State University


All Geology majors are required to take Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. This course is also the only geology course required by majors that is also a communications-intensive course (emphasis on written and oral communications). Consequently, this course serves as the primary means of assessing the oral/written capabilities our our majors, and is used as the primary instrument to assess this learning outcome.


This rubric is used by the instructor and student peers to assess the oral presentation skills of students over the course of the semester. Prior to any presentation, the students in the class are given an overview by the director of the college communications lab that covers some critical aspects/style of oral presentations. Early in the semester the students give a 5-minute Powerpoint presentation. The students and the instructor evaluate the student's performance and presentation content using the rubric. The students are given feedback from the rubric from both the students and instructor (separately). In addition, the instructor goes through each Powerpoint file to comment on content and design. After a semester-long research project, the students give a second oral presentation (12 minutes long). The students are again assessed using this rubric by their peers and the instructor.

Use of the Data

The rubric contains information on both oral presentation skills and content. The oral presentation scores of the instructor only are used to assess the level at which the students have attained this goal.


The assessment seems to work reasonably well (certainly on a course level). However, the department is just starting to use this approach for departmental assessment, so it is too soon to know whether it is entirely successful.


Download the Oral Presentation Rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Feb12 09)

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