Presentation Rubric for a College Project

We seem to have an unavoidable relationship with public speaking throughout our lives. From our kindergarten years, when our presentations are nothing more than a few seconds of reciting cute words in front of our class…

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...till our grown up years, when things get a little more serious, and the success of our presentations may determine getting funds for our business, or obtaining an academic degree when defending our thesis.

Image contains a person speaking with a microphone

By the time we reach our mid 20’s, we become worryingly used to evaluations based on our presentations. Yet, for some reason, we’re rarely told the traits upon which we are being evaluated. Most colleges and business schools for instance use a PowerPoint presentation rubric to evaluate their students. Funny thing is, they’re not usually that open about sharing it with their students (as if that would do any harm!).

What is a presentation rubric?

A presentation rubric is a systematic and standardized tool used to evaluate and assess the quality and effectiveness of a presentation. It provides a structured framework for instructors, evaluators, or peers to assess various aspects of a presentation, such as content, delivery, organization, and overall performance. Presentation rubrics are commonly used in educational settings, business environments, and other contexts where presentations are a key form of communication.

A typical presentation rubric includes a set of criteria and a scale for rating or scoring each criterion. The criteria are specific aspects or elements of the presentation that are considered essential for a successful presentation. The scale assigns a numerical value or descriptive level to each criterion, ranging from poor or unsatisfactory to excellent or outstanding.

Common criteria found in presentation rubrics may include:

  1. Content: This criterion assesses the quality and relevance of the information presented. It looks at factors like accuracy, depth of knowledge, use of evidence, and the clarity of key messages.
  2. Organization: Organization evaluates the structure and flow of the presentation. It considers how well the introduction, body, and conclusion are structured and whether transitions between sections are smooth.
  3. Delivery: Delivery assesses the presenter's speaking skills, including vocal tone, pace, clarity, and engagement with the audience. It also looks at nonverbal communication, such as body language and eye contact.
  4. Visual Aids: If visual aids like slides or props are used, this criterion evaluates their effectiveness, relevance, and clarity. It may also assess the design and layout of visual materials.
  5. Audience Engagement: This criterion measures the presenter's ability to connect with the audience, maintain their interest, and respond to questions or feedback.
  6. Time Management: Time management assesses whether the presenter stayed within the allotted time for the presentation. Going significantly over or under the time limit can affect the overall effectiveness of the presentation.
  7. Creativity and Innovation: In some cases, rubrics may include criteria related to the creative and innovative aspects of the presentation, encouraging presenters to think outside the box.
  8. Overall Impact: This criterion provides an overall assessment of the presentation's impact on the audience, considering how well it achieved its intended purpose and whether it left a lasting impression.

“We’re used to giving presentations, yet we’re rarely told the traits upon which we’re being evaluated.

Well, we don’t believe in shutting down information. Quite the contrary: we think the best way to practice your speech is to know exactly what is being tested! By evaluating each trait separately, you can:

  • Acknowledge the complexity of public speaking, that goes far beyond subject knowledge.
  • Address your weaker spots, and work on them to improve your presentation as a whole.

I’ve assembled a simple Presentation Rubric, based on a great document by the NC State University, and I've also added a few rows of my own, so you can evaluate your presentation in pretty much any scenario!

CREATE PRESENTATION

What is tested in this PowerPoint presentation rubric?

The Rubric contemplates 7 traits, which are as follows:

Image contains seven traits: "Organization, Subject knowledge, mechanics, eye contact, poise, elocution, enthusiasm".

Now let's break down each trait so you can understand what they mean, and how to assess each one:

Presentation Rubric

Image contains the presentation rubric


How to use this Rubric?:

The Rubric is pretty self explanatory, so I'm just gonna give you some ideas as to how to use it. The ideal scenario is to ask someone else to listen to your presentation and evaluate you with it. The less that person knows you, or what your presentation is about, the better.

WONDERING WHAT YOUR SCORE MAY INDICATE?

  • 21-28 Fan-bloody-tastic!
  • 14-21 Looking good, but you can do better
  • 7-14 Uhmmm, you ain't at all ready

As we don't always have someone to rehearse our presentations with, a great way to use the Rubric is to record yourself (this is not Hollywood material so an iPhone video will do!), watching the video afterwards, and evaluating your presentation on your own. You'll be surprised by how different your perception of yourself is, in comparison to how you see yourself on video.

Image contains a person using a whiteboard

Related read: Webinar - Public Speaking and Stage Presence: How to wow?

It will be fairly easy to evaluate each trait! The mere exercise of reading the Presentation Rubric is an excellent study on presenting best practices.

If you're struggling with any particular trait, I suggest you take a look at our Academy Channel where we discuss how to improve each trait in detail!

It's not always easy to objectively assess our own speaking skills. So the next time you have a big presentation coming up, use this Rubric to put yourself to the test!

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