Oral Communication

Analysis of Results for Oral Communication

The Oral Communication core competency assessment involved evaluations of 246 student presentations [n = 246] in the upper division, including capstone and 300- and 400-level courses. Of the 24 departments that agreed to participate, all but five assessed their own student presentations. Four of the remaining five requested that two Assessment Committee members join the course instructor(s) in doing the evaluations while the fifth depended solely on two Committee members to evaluate student presentations.

(Critical Thinking)
(Critical Thinking)
Valid (n)246246246246
Standard Deviation0.690.740.670.71

In devising the rubric, the Assessment Committee intended that it be flexible enough to evaluate a wide range of oral presentations, including interviews, internship reports and math presentations. Creating a rubric that was easy to use was also a priority as videotaping would not be mandated. The Oral Communication rubric targets four skill sets: (1) Organization and Structure,  (2) Content, (3) Language, and (4) Delivery. The first two simultaneously assess the core competency of Critical Thinking as they integrate skills of analysis and synthesis. The third, Language, focuses on choices both effective and appropriate. The fourth, Delivery, received the most scrutiny by the Committee members, with the resulting emphasis on gestures, eye contact and vocal expressiveness.

Because the majority of the departments assessed their own student presentations and just one class of four students was evaluated solely by Committee members, the Committee has utilized the data and responses of individual departments rather than on presenting an all- department analysis [See below for data and results by departments].

The results for the oral presentations were high across all departments on campus, with the median for the first two skill sets at 3.5 and the others at 3.0. Since Delivery in 12 of the 24 departments was the lowest score [Mean], departments responded in more detail about actions to be taken for this skill set.  Responses included the following:  (1) Having faculty assume more responsibility prior to the presentations, enabling students to benefit from instructor feedback, (2) Requiring oral presentation outlines beforehand and (3) one department, after viewing videotaped presentations, planning to meet with its teaching faculty to use the data for Delivery and Language to improve instruction in foreign language oral presentations.

Besides planning to effect changes including more faculty responsibility prior to the student presentations, departments also included methods intended to “close the loop” on assessment data:

  1. “Develop a mechanism” of supporting majors needing additional help for their oral communication skills.
  2. Create a “curriculum map” for required courses with oral communication content, to address weaknesses through “feedback and practice to improve skills”.
  3. Incorporate the rubric into score sheets for oral presentation skills.
  4. Write its own assessment report based on the data to continue to improve this competency portion of its program outcomes.
  5. Improve training for senior seminar courses and emphasizing Delivery in particular.
  6. Focus on ways to improve “how students convey content from research papers in oral presentations”.

Committee members who participated in the evaluations of oral presentations observed that the obvious lack of preparation tended to affect whole presentations; many students seemed to simply read from portions of their research papers and many failed to take into account their time allocations, either running out of time or not taking full advantage of the time allotted to them.

Besides the responses to the data by the aforementioned departments, the Committee recommends that instructors share the rubric with students prior to the presentations. Delivery in particular would be the easiest for students to address and prepare for, regardless of their competency in Organization/Structure and Content.

Oral Communication Summary of Category Averages

Submitted by Mary Louise Haraguchi
December 2017
Chair of Assessment Support Committee (AY 2016-2017)
Hawaiian Collection & Public Services Librarian

Program Specific Reports