Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Marking Presentations

Thu, 03 May 2007

I regularly get students on my courses to give assessed presentations which they are marked upon. Whilst we are primarily interested in academic achievement, we do utilise a variety of different assessment methods, of which presenting is one. And its also important because students will, at some point, have to present in their professional career, so practise and experience now is well worthwhile.

The question is, how do you actually assess presenting? Well, we are not expecting thespian oratories from our students, thats for sure. However it does need to be well organised, clear and generally delivered in a positive manner (as ever, there is always room for improvement). There is also the added complexity of assessing the academic content, even more so when this might run in tandem with a project and there is the possibility of assessing the content twice.

I first came across these issues when I was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire, however we'll leave branding for another blog entry) and, with the help of my wife, put together a marking sheet which has evolved over time. I would be interested to see other peoples experiences both in geography, and across in to other disciplines. In this scheme 60% of the mark is on the presentation itself (with the remaining 40% on the academic content). This is split between 30% on presenting (visual aids, pacing, engagement) and 30% on structure/organisation (objectives, explanation, structure). Its by no means perfect but does offer a consistent way to mark presentations and shows students what to focus upon.

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