Presentations test students’ ability to communicate their knowledge, ideas and message to a targeted audience effectively, in a medium other than pure text.

What is a Presentation?

Presentations are a live or recorded opportunity for students to give a prepared, structured performance to share their work. They may include a visual component, such as slides, costuming, or props.They often include a period for the presenter to respond to audience questions. It is possible to use PowerPoint to combine slides and audio which can also be exported as a video, or software such as Zoom can be used for students to present live, with or without additional visual aids, and that can also be recorded.

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Presentations are assessed in three dimensions: (University of Reading, UK)

Student Presentations Assessment Guide

Be sure to communicate these or similar expectations to students at the outset, and be sure to use these criteria in grading their presentations.

  • Mastery of Subject Matter:

    • Knowledge and understanding of core material
    • Extent, quality and appropriateness of research
    • Conceptual grasp of issues, quality of argument and ability to answer questions
  • Mastery of the Stage:

    • Quality of room management, including use of chosen technologies
    • Pacing
    • Effective use of audio-visual material - whiteboard, visual aids, etc.
    • Organisation/structure of material (intro; main body; conclusion)
  • Mastery of Communication:

    • Audibility, liveliness, clarity and engagement of presentation
    • Confidence and fluency in use of language and chosen technologies
    • Appropriate use of body language (inc. eye contact)
    • Listening skills: responsiveness to audience

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Respecting Students’ Presentation Anxiety: in fairness, some students will need alternative assessments (Some Students Want to Abolish In-Class Presentations)

Possible Criteria for Grading Presentations

From the following exhaustive list, choose criteria that are relevant to your assignment expectations:

A. Presenter Skills

  • Eye contact
  • Facial expression
  • Composure
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Voice (enthusiasm)
  • Voice (pitch)
  • Voice (volume)
  • Voice (expression)
  • Voice (articulation/enunciation/pronunciation)
  • Voice (pace)
  • Voice (volume)
  • Smooth transitions through sequenced topics
  • Non-distracting use of notes
  • If using media, the presenter faces the audience, not the screen

B. Content

  • Clear objectives
  • Clear framing of how the presentation will unfold at outset
  • Quantity of content is appropriate
  • Selected content supports objectives
  • Selected content relates to course material
  • Selected content shows evidence of cited research
  • Selected content shows presence of critical analysis
  • Selected content is balanced, does not show evidence of researcher bias
  • Content is organized
  • Presentation closes with effective summary and conclusions, in which conclusions, recommendations and limitations are all stated

C. Use of Media

  • Best practices for effective slides are followed
  • The Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint Presentations are avoided
  • Grammar, spelling, etc. is accurate
  • Images reinforce and complement the message
  • Images are properly cited
  • Media runs without glitches or delays
  • Media-presenter interface is smooth and seamless

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