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Evaluating student presentations: Written feedback from the teacher

Perhaps the best way to provide written feedback of studentsí oral presentations is to use an evaluation form with pre-set categories as well as room for open-ended comments. The sample formats presented here offer checklists for content, organization, and delivery.

Written comments from the instructor may include perceived limitations of the presentation (e.g. "I didnít hear a thesis statement") and positive feedback (e.g. "Presentation was very well organized").

It is helpful to provide specific feedback so that students know what to work on for their next presentation (e.g. "Work on eye contact so that you are looking to all areas of the room, rather than just to your right side").

Because public speaking is very difficult for many people, it is especially important to emphasize the positive aspects of the presentation as well as areas for improvement when evaluating student presentations.

Sample: Informative Evaluation Form - web page format
Sample: Informative Evaluation Form - Acrobat (PDF) for easy printing
Sample: Informative Evaluation Form - Microsoft word document for editing

Sample: Persuasive Evaluation Form - web page format
Sample: Persuasive Evaluation Form - Acrobat (PDF) for easy printing
Sample: Persuasive Evaluation Form - Microsoft word document for editing

If you'd like to create your own evaluation form, click on a list below of common criteria.

Select categories/features and modify to meet your needs. You can also have your students help by participating in the creation of an evaluation form.

Inventory of Evaluation Categories/Features


  • The speaker gains the audience's attention and interest.

  • The speaker establishes his/her credibility.

  • The speaker relates the topic to audience

  • The speaker sets up central claim.

  • The central idea/main message is stated at the beginning.

  • The speaker previews the presentation.

  • The whole talk is outlined early in the presentation.

  • The introduction is brief in proportion to the length of the talk.

  • The guiding research question is stated.

  • The importance of the research question is stated.

  • The speaker establishes the significance of topic for the audience.


  • The speaker relies on variety of supporting materials.

  • If the methods are illustrated, a matrix, flow chart, or other diagram is used.

  • The speaker uses sound reasoning.

  • The speaker uses main points to support central idea.

  • The speaker uses supporting material to substantiate main points.

  • Research methods are summarized in only enough detail to support the results.

  • The evidence is drawn from authoritative sources.

  • The supporting material is relevant and specific.

  • The speaker cites the source of the evidence.


  • The speaker signals end of presentation

  • The speaker restates central idea

  • The speaker leaves a vivid impression of presentation

  • The conclusions are stated at the end in a form to reinforce the message.

  • The conclusions are concise.


  • The speaker presents ideas in a clear manner.

  • The speaker states one point at a time.

  • The speaker fully develops each point.

  • The presentation is cohesive.

  • The topic is appropriate.

  • The topic is worthwhile.

  • The presentation is properly focused.

  • A clear train of thought is followed and involves the audience.

  • The speaker makes main points clear.

  • The speaker sequences main points effectively.

  • The speaker includes internal summaries.

  • The outline is repeatedly referenced to provide signposts.

  • The speaker provide effective signposts.

  • The speaker provides smooth transitions.

  • The format of graphs is described before focusing on the content.


  • The talk fits the time limit.

  • Enough time is spent on each visual aid to allow the audience to absorb the information.


  • The speaker faces the audience while speaking (speaker glances at the machine, not at the screen, while speaking).

  • The slides have large, readable text (appropriate size for room).

  • Each slide makes only a single point.

  • There are five or fewer lines of text on each slide.

  • Text is concise, having only a phrase or a few words per line.

  • Background of slides is subordinate to text.

  • Animation contributes to message instead of distracting the audience.

  • Graphs are readable by all in the room.

  • Slides have been prepared specifically for oral presentation.


  • The speaker does not read the presentation.

  • The speaker does not apologize for the presentation. 

  • The speaker always faces the audience when speaking. 

  • The pointer is used as a precise tool. 

  • The speaker maintains strong eye contact.

  • The speaker gestures appropriately.

  • There are no unnecessary gestures or distracting mannerisms.

  • The speaker effectively uses non-verbal signals.

  • The speaker has good posture.

  • The speaker's facial expressions are effective.

  • The speaker talks slowly and repeats key ideas.

  • The speaker's voice can be clearly heard by all in the room. 

  • The speaker varies volume, pitch, and rate.

  • The speaker uses pauses effectively.

  • The speaker varies the length of statements.

  • The speaker articulates and pronounces words correctly.

  • The speaker demonstrates confidence.

  • The presentation is aimed at a specific audience.

  • The presentation is adapted to address the audience needs.

  • Language is free from unexplained jargon and acronyms. 

  • Language is appropriate to audience

  • Language is appropriate to topic is concrete vivid and specific

  • Speaker uses alliteration, parallel phrasing, imagery, or other rhetorical devices

  • The talk has been practiced to refine the flow, message, and length.


  • The speaker carefully listens to questions.

  • The speaker asks for clarification of the question when needed.

  • The speaker answers the questions that are asked.

  • The speaker answers succinctly. 

  • The speaker provides clear answers to questions.


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