, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 115-128
Date: 12 Jul 2006

Oral Communication Skills in Higher Education: Using a Performance-Based Evaluation Rubric to Assess Communication Skills

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ABSTRACT

This study used The Competent Speaker, a rubric developed by the National Communication Association (S. P. Morreale, M. R. Moore, K. P. Taylor, D. Surges-Tatum, & R. Hulbert-Johnson, 1993), to evaluate student performance in general education public speaking courses as a case study of student skills and programmatic assessment. Results indicate that students taking the general education public speaking course are below satisfactory standards on five of the eight competencies defined by the National Communication Association and are above satisfactory standards on two of the eight competencies. Implications for this particular program, other communication departments, and communication across the curriculum in general education are discussed. We also offer suggestions for those in other disciplines or educational settings in the use of performance evaluation rubrics for assessing other student skills/knowledge and for training new teachers.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2004 meeting of the Western States Communication Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Norah Dunbar received her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Arizona and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Her primary research interests include interpersonal communication, power, deception, and conflict; she is also focused on curriculum development, assessment, and reform. Catherine Brooks is a Ph.D. student in Education at the University of California, Riverside with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. She is also a Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Her primary research interests include issues of gender and computer-mediated communication in instructional settings. Tara Kubicka-Miller received her Master's degree from the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Long Beach and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Santiago Canyon College. Her primary research interests include competitive public speaking, interpersonal and small group communication. The videotaped student speeches used in this research were collected in classrooms as part of Tara Kubicka-Miller's Master's Thesis (Kubicka, 2003).