Grading of Speeches

Each of your graded speeches will receive two grades.

(1) The "quality" grade is a letter grade, based on criteria which will be discussed in class (such as content, organization, presentation, effective preparation and use of notes). This grade is provided for your information only, and is not entered in my record book. (Note: For the information speech, 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 and do the speech, I also 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.)

(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; for the information speech, for example, which is worth a possible 30 points, the scale is: A = 27-30 (90% or more), B = 24-26.5 (80%), C = 21-23.5 (70%). Next, I adjust this number grade, if necessary, for time. If your speech exceeded the maximum time allowance, I subtract 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 -0.5 points.

EXAMPLE: The information speech is worth 30 points, and it is supposed to run between 2 and 3 minutes. Say that Bill, Hillary and Chelsea all do A- work on this assignment, but I have to stop Bill at the end of 3 minutes, Hillary finishes after only 1 minute, and Chelsea's speech runs 2 minutes and 5 seconds. All three speakers have earned quality grades of A-, which translates to 27 points out of a possible 30 (90%). Bill ran long, so I subtract 10% of the total value of the speech, or 3 points, giving him an official grade of 24 points. Hillary did only half of the minimum time requirement, so she receives only half of her quality grade, or 13.5 points. Chelsea's speech met the time requirement (albeit just barely!), so she receives her full quality grade of 27 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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