Grading of Speeches

Your informative speech will receive two grades.

(1) The "quality" grade is a letter grade, based on criteria which will be discussed in class (informational content, effective organization, vocal and physical presentation, effective preparation and use of notes) and which are also presented on the assignment sheet on this website. This grade is provided for your information only, and is not entered in my record book. (Note: If you’re in class when your name is called and do the speech and include at least two accurate oral citations as instructed, I guarantee that your quality grade will be no lower than a C-. For the persuasive argument, if you’re in class when your name is called, have both a speech outline and one note card with you, do the speech, and include a minimum of two correct citations, I guarantee that your quality grade will be no lower than a C-. I call this the “70% cushion,” and I’ll explain it more fully during class time. If you fail to bring the outline and/or note card as assigned, you will not get to do the speech, and your grade will be a zero. If you do the speech but don't meet the citation requirement, the 70% cushion will not apply to you.)

(2) The "official" grade is a number grade, and this is the one I enter into my record book. First, I translate your quality grade into a number grade, according to a simple scale: A = 18-20 (90% or more), B = 16-17.5 (80%), C = 14-15.5 (70%). Next, I adjust this number grade, if necessary, for time. If your speech exceeded the maximum time allowance, I subtract 2 points (10% of the total value of the speech) from your number grade; if your speech fell short of the minimum time requirement, I prorate your number grade accordingly; if your speech met the time requirement, no adjustment is necessary. The minimum adjustment for a speech which fails to meet the minimum time requirement is minus one-half point.

EXAMPLE: The speech is worth 20 points, and it is supposed to run between 2 and 3 minutes. Say that Dan, Melanie, and Earl all do A- work on this assignment, but I have to stop Dan at the end of 3 minutes, Melanie finishes after only 1 minute, and Earl's speech runs 2 minutes and 5 seconds. All three speakers have earned quality grades of A-, which translates to 18 points out of a possible 20 (90%). Dan ran long, so I subtract 10% of the total value of the speech, or 2 points, giving him an official grade of 16 points. Melanie did only half of the minimum time requirement, so she receives only half of her quality grade, or 9 points. Earl's speech met the time requirement (albeit just barely!), so he receives his full quality grade of 18 points. Notice, then, that it can be extremely important for you to handle the element of timing successfully in your graded speeches!


a) do the "cold reading" exercise at least twice a day,
b) prepare your speech carefully for timing,
c) follow the rehearsal program outlined in class,
d) be sure to avoid memorizing your speech,
e) remember that your perceptions of time can be thrown way off under performance conditions; just do the speech the way you prepared it, and don't worry about your timing.


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