The assessment of public speaking: A pan-European view

  • Anthony E. Ward
  • Published 2013 in
    2013 12th International Conference on Information…


The ability of students in public speaking is a stated requirement for Electrical and Information Engineering students at all levels according to the Washington, Sydney and Dublin Accords and UK and European Qualifications standards. It is also a frequently cited requirement in job specifications for graduate engineers. Effective public speaking is a skill that can be assessed simply by observing and grading. However, being an ability that is developed experientially, perhaps the simple grading of the end result (the presentation) is not a sufficiently effective approach to assessing a student's real ability to give a future presentation. This paper presents the findings of a pan-European survey of 51 questionnaires collected from Higher Education Institutions in 24 different European Countries. A range of questions were asked from factual ones about how Public Speaking is assessed and about the institution's perceptions of assessment, to governance questions such as whether it is a learning objective stated in academic modules and whether strategic plans exist for the development of it as a skill. The results show that there is fairly widespread agreement that public speaking is considered important, although far from everyone. However knowledge of relevant benchmark statements is low. In terms of assessment, compensation of weak public speaking ability to higher levels of ability in other tested abilities, weakens the reliability with which certifying ability can be made. The assessment methods used are generally free of marker bias but are generally not consistent between assessed events within a programme, department or institution. Feedback of results of the assessment to students is also quite variable. The paper concludes with implications for curriculum designers and those responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of programme quality and effectiveness.

DOI: 10.1109/ITHET.2013.6671050

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@article{Ward2013TheAO, title={The assessment of public speaking: A pan-European view}, author={Anthony E. Ward}, journal={2013 12th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training (ITHET)}, year={2013}, pages={1-5} }