Rubric for Formal Oral Communication

Adapted from Huba, M.E., & Freed, J.E. (2000). Learner-centered assessment on college campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning (pp. 156-157). Allyn & Bacon: Needham Heights, MA


Components 3-Sophisticated 2-Competent 1-Not yet Competent


Presentation is clear, logical, and organized. Listener can follow line of reasoning.

Presentation is generally clear and well organized. A few minor points may be confusing.

Organization is haphazard; listener can follow presentation only with effort. Arguments are not clear.


Level of presentation is appropriate for the audience. Presentation is a planned conversation, paced for audience understanding. It is not a reading of a paper. Speaker is comfortable in front of the group and can be heard by all.

Level of presentation is generally appropriate. Pacing is sometimes too fast or too slow. Presenter seems slightly uncomfortable at times, and audience occasionally has trouble hearing him/her.

Aspects of presentation are too elementary or too sophisticated for audience. Presenter seems uncomfortable and can be heard only if listener is very attentive.

Much of the information is read.

Use of Communication Aids

Communication aids enhance presentation.

  • The font on the visuals is readable.

  • Information is represented and organized to maximize audience comprehension.

  • Details are minimized so that main points stand out.

Communication aids contribute to the quality of the presentation.

  • Font size is mostly readable.

  • Appropriate information is included.

  • Some material is not supported by visual aids.

Communication aids are poorly prepared or used inappropriately.

  • Font size is too small to read.

  • Too much information is included.

  • Details or some unimportant information is highlighted, and may confuse the audience.

Content: Depth of Content

Speaker provides accurate and complete explanations of key concepts and theories, drawing on relevant literature. Applications of theory illuminate issues. Listeners gain insights. For the most part, explanations of concepts and theories are accurate and complete. Some helpful applications are included. Explanations of concepts and/or theories are inaccurate or incomplete. Little attempt is made to tie theory to practice. Listeners gain little from the presentation.

Content: Accuracy of Content

Information (names, facts, etc) included in the presentation is consistently accurate.

No significant errors are made. Listeners recognize any errors to be the result of nervousness or oversight.

Enough errors are made to distract a knowledgeable listener. Some information is accurate but the listener must determine what information is reliable.

Use of Language: Grammar and Word Choice

Sentences are complete and grammatical. They flow together easily. Words are well chosen; they express the intended meaning precisely. Sentences are complete and grammatical for the most part. They flow together easily. With some exceptions, words are well chosen and precise. Listeners can follow presentation, but they are distracted by some grammatical errors and use of slang. Some sentences are halting, incomplete, or vocabulary is limited or inappropriate.

Use of Language: Freedom from Bias (e.g., sexism, racism, heterosexism, agism, etc.,)

Both oral language and body language are free from bias.

Oral language and body language are free from bias with one or two minor exceptions.

Oral language and/or body language includes some identifiable bias. Some listeners will be offended.

Responsiveness to Audience: Verbal Interaction

Consistently clarifies, restates, and responds to questions. Summarizes when needed.

Generally responsive to audience questions and needs. Misses some opportunities for interaction.

Responds to questions inadequately.

Responsiveness to Audience: Body Language

Body language reflects comfort interacting with audience

Body language reflects some discomfort interacting with audience.

Body language reveals a reluctance to interact with audience.


Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University