Oral Communication 2021-2022

Analysis of Results for Oral Communication

The Oral Communication core competency assessment involved evaluations of 167 student presentations (n = 167) in the upper division, including capstone and 300- and 400-level courses. Of the 14 departments that agreed to participate, six assessed their own student presentations, with the remaining eight requesting that two Assessment Committee members undertake the evaluations.

Given that this second attempt at measuring oral communication was undertaken during the first full year of educational responses to the pandemic, the drop in participation from AY 2016-2017 may reflect hesitancy on the part of the faculty and administration from engaging in assessment. In addition, the move to online instruction was noted by some faculty as a reason for not incorporating this skill at the same level as they might normally do in face-to-face settings.

Ironically, the data from the evaluations for this academic year shows that in terms of higher-level learning (critical thinking), students are generally performing on par with AY 2016-2017; mean scores were, comparatively, 3.41 (16-17)/3.38 (21-22) for Organization and Structure, and 3.34 (16-17)/3.30 (21-22) for Content. On the other hand, a bigger drop in scores was seen in the two categories most likely highly influenced by the switch in modalities: Language, 3.36 (16-17)/3.19 (21-22); and, Deliver, 3.20 (16-17)/3.00 (21-22). The full data report follows:

(Critical Thinking)
(Critical Thinking)
Valid (n)167167167167
Standard Deviation0.560.600.570.72

Members of the Assessment Support Committee made observations in one particular course that seem applicable to the wider range of student presentations:

Oral presentations for students are often a challenge; DL delivery just exacerbates some of the issues that plague presenters. Apart from the usual problems—such as pacing, ensuring data and supporting information are clearly communicated, flow of ideas—DL delivery posed additional challenges. One noticeable problem is that when students are presenting via Zoom on computers, there is a tendency to read and forgo eye contact and bodily movements that help induce engagement. Some students did exceptionally well in using contrasting POV in their photos or integrating video to enhance audience engagement better—but some simply delivered a PowerPoint without really thinking about the online platform and how to best adapt it to their advantage.

Given that remote work and study may become the new normal, at least for the immediate foreseeable future, helping student hone speaking and presentation skills specifically for the DL environment would help students prepare for this environment. This may mean that professional development is needed for faculty to better understand how teaching oral communication can be adapted for this modality.


Submitted by Seri I Luangphinith June 2022

Chair of Assessment Support Committee (AY 2021-2022 & 2022-2023) Accreditation Liaison Officer


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