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Spoken Presentation Scoring Sheet

The following scoring sheet is adapted from the English department's form for analyzing a speech; most notably, I have added the sixth "standard" on using multi-media.  I have also added notes in italics in the right-hand column concerning pros and cons of presentations I have seen.  Notice that there is no standard for the song, movie excerpt, poem, or short story presented.  Grading applies to your analysis of that work.



1. Thesis

·        Speaker articulates presentation’s purpose in introduction.

·        Speaker’s main idea [thesis] is clear.

(The basic thesis for all presentations is that the work is artistic or well made.  Your thesis should tell why it is so.)

2. Development

·        Organization is evident, sequential, and reasonable, considering the topic.


·        Speaker clearly articulates a reason for choosing this topic.

(Many students play the song or video, recite the poem, or read the story excerpt, early in their presentations, but few preview the subtopics of their analysis either before or right afterward.  To be clear, they should.)  

(Most students tell something about why they chose this particular work to explain, usually either personal connection or the promise of plenty to analyze.)

3. Support

·        Explanations provide analysis

o       Why, how, when, who, where, what

o       Connection between illustration and topic

o       Comparisons and analogies

o       Precedents: Set a historical forerunner or cite prior practice.

o       Absence of “boiler-plate” (clichés, vague references)

·        Illustrations include performance:

o       Photos are used integrally; handouts are relevant.

o       Stories

o       Objects and physical props

·        Other evidence

o       Demonstrations

o       Statistics

o       Citations, ranging from quotations, biographical facts, to more extended research

o       Answers to questions from class or professor

(I’m often impressed by students’ biographical knowledge about a favorite singer, director, actor, etc.  Many works also show best when set into a historical context.)



(Most professional critics compare the work under review with similar works by other artists or earlier work by the same artist.)

(Regarding “boiler-plate” that could fit any work: Praise is best when it is specific.)

(Some students have used PowerPoint presentations—computer on a cart available if requested in advance.  Others have printed large-typeface headings on plastic for use on overhead projector available in every classroom.  One student brought in Hindu prayer beads and a Catholic rosary ["props"] to make a distinction important for a poem he was presenting in his native language and in translation.)






(Answers to questions usually add 5 or more points.)

4. Fluency

·        Vocals: pace, tone, volume, and enunciation

·        Style: transitions, varied sentence structure, syntax, context, and vocabulary (strong verbs, appropriate rare words, well defined technical terms, vivid word choice)

·        Correctness: grammar, punctuation on handouts and projections, word usage


(These are almost automatic assets to each presentation.  Once in a while, a student will call attention to their talking with dozens of “ums” or an unexplained technical or slang term.  Many people speak rapidly, but almost everyone’s enthusiasm comes through clearly.)


5.  Delivery

·        Eye contact

·        Vocal variety in rate, pitch, and intensity to heighten and maintain interest

·        Physical behaviors that support the verbal message [gestures, movement]

·        Poise and confidence

·        Enthusiasm for topic

(Don’t read to us; talk to us.  That is, use an outline in large type that you can see even though you are nervous, but not a script you have to read in front of your face. When recording, put the microphone perpendicular to your mouth, so you don't blow into it but speak across it.  Do practice recordings for checking sound levels and getting used to the equipment.)

(Students sometimes shift from side to side, bounce, or otherwise distract us from their topic.  Stay put; stay focused. When recording, don't tap on the table/desk.)

6.  Use of Media

·        Introduction to video or audio gives the audience something to watch or listen for.

·        Voice-over as video plays does not block content of video but provides immediate commentary on action or staging or character’s motive.

·        Follow-up of the video or the audio can guide the audience to see the production as a package—with all the elements contributing to one overall impression.

·        Handout or PowerPoint provides some of the speaker’s commentary on some elements of video, audio, poetry, or fiction—though it may also provide summary, biographical information, notes on production, etc.  SOURCES ARE CREDITED for visuals, for lyrics, for ideas or interpretations or summaries.

·        Props, if used, are integrated into the presentation, perhaps shared with the audience.


(Since you are our guide for the work, focus our attention on something unique or important before playing or showing or reciting the work, and follow up with that emphasis afterward.)

(Some students re-play a brief video clip with the sound off in order to illustrate their commentary, which is a voiceover.)


(Analysis and explication that keep the theme in mind as the reason for volume shifts, etc., in songs or camera angles, etc., in a movie clip tend to get more points because they infer a performer’s or director’s reason for structure.)

(The URL for the website from which lyrics and stills and biography or summary come meets the standard for citing sources, but a full citation for online or print sources, as was done in ENG 111, is preferable, if you can manage it.)

(Below: If I use this form, I use the “symbol” method and log a number grade on one of these forms for each presenter.  This column starts blank and I make notes on what I notice.)

Suggested Scoring Methods

1.  Symbols:  -  indicates a weakness,  +  a strength; a checkmark [or “OK”] acknowledges that the teacher noticed this trait and performance meets the standard.

2.  Numbers and Symbols:  1 = poor . . . 3 = average . . . 5 = good.  Circling items indicates weaknesses; underlining items indicates strengths.

3.  Rating Numbers: 0 = No attempt, 1= Deficient, 2 = Fair, 3 = Average, 4= Above Average, 5 = Excellent.



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