Evaluation means the rating of a public speech, usually involving a pre-set rubric with clearly communicated measurements. Even though I have been teaching public speaking for more than 20 years, I still can remember the first time I had to evaluate speeches in my class. I remember madly scrambling for resources: I went to seasoned teachers, books, and syllabi from other classes. When I once ran a speaking-across-the curriculum program, I often encountered the same “deer in the headlights” from other professors. In sum, this isn’t an easy process to master, and anyone who says it is suffers from arrogance or delusion.
Honestly, it took me years to get proficient at grading speeches, and I still don’t think I’ve completely mastered it.
The purpose of this section of my web site is to focus on how to evaluate speeches. I know that my bias is towards classroom experiences, but I believe most of this information translates into all contexts where speaking is in play.
I have divided this section into five evaluation areas (click to link):
Although evaluation of speeches seems like a focused, one-by-one activity, I strongly believe that, in today’s academic world, evaluation should always be conducted with an eye toward assessment (the other major section of this web site). That is, as an individual speech is being evaluated, the smart educator is always thinking “how can I teach this particular outcome better?”