Speech Evaluation

Principles of speech communication have long been documented, but no hierarchy of competence has been available to guide speech teachers. Teachers need a hierarchical model to guide their curriculum, to organize their expectations for student progress and to measure that progress.

This research develops a speech evaluation measurement system for ascertaining speech student competence. The data are 1,022 ratings of 168 speeches by 34 speakers enrolled in Persuasive Speaking at Roosevelt University. Class 1 met two nights a week for eight weeks. Class 2 met one night a week for sixteen weeks. The test items represent ethos, pathos and logos - aspects of rhetoric defined by the ancients and used by speech teachers. The items also represent the motivated sequence popularized by Alan Monroe in 1928. Rating was performed by the instructor, two teaching assistants, all speakers and four independent raters who viewed videotapes.

Rating scale analysis was accomplished by Linacre's FACETS program (1988). The item analysis demonstrates that public speaking ability can be managed as a unidimensional variable. The item difficulties form an invariant hierarchy of competence difficulties which defines a useful range of inquiry. The item map ("An Evaluator's Guide to the Difficulty of Public Speaking") shows the item hierarchy for each sub-scale.

The learning curves of speakers show that improvement is not related to initial ability but to length of course and class attendance. Gains for the sixteen week course were significantly higher than for the eight week course. Speakers who missed classes improved least. But an individual's speaking ability was not related to their severity as a rater. Some good speakers were lenient raters. Some poor speakers were harsh.

Two new rating forms which capitalize on this research are available: a diagnostic form to assist teaching public speaking and an evaluation form for use in speech assessment.

An Evaluator's Guide to the Difficulty of Public Speaking - Donna S. Tatum - 1991
1: Easiest
Appears sincere
Shows interest in topic
Pleasant attitude
Willing to communicate
Good natured
Appropriate demeanor
Demonstrates mastery
Not take self too seriously
Good eye contact
Good fluency
Language appropriate
No derogatory terms
Special terms defined
Words meaningful to audience
Easy to follow
Conveys confidence
Sense of proportion
Words clear
Volume sufficient
Sounds natural
Correct speed
Maintains attention
Correct facial expression
Authoritative delivery
Good posture
Precise use of words
Good vocabulary
Originality of expression
No information overload
Understands material
Clear thesis statement
Well organized
Topic limited
Fulfills purpose
Evidence logical
Evidence relevant
Smooth flow
Expressive eye contact
Topic relevant
Curiosity aroused
Inspires audience
Demonstrates relevance
Sense of humor
Presents evidence fairly
Vocal variety
No monotones
Descriptive language
Striking statements
Solution fits thesis
Adapts material to audience
Credible sources
Solution practical
Relationships clear
Solution clear and concise
Describes problem well
Good use of numbers
New view of topic
Establishes common ground
Creates interest in topic
Movements coordinated
Smooth gestures
Colorful, vivid language
Variety of transitions
Solution contains new ideas
Variety of evidence
Unusual tactics
Compelling style
Creates desire to achieve results
Generates appropriate emotion
Gestures completed
Rivets audience
NEED step
Arouses compelling cognitive dissonance
Satisfies cognitive dissonance

Speech Evaluation, D S Tatum … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:2 p. 144-145

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
in Spanish: Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez

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