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Oral Communication

Definition and Learning Outcomes
Oral communication competency at Norfolk State University is defined as the ability to use oral communication to competently and confidently share logical and precise information and ideas to others. A student competent in oral communication can apply knowledge of oral communication theory to deliver oral presentations that convey intentions or ideas in messages crafted to introduce, inform, or persuade the listener.
NSU students demonstrating competent oral communication skills will be able to:

- 1. Formally greet a public audience
- 2. Attract the audience’s attention using a socially acceptable attention getter
- 3. Identify the purpose and/or intent of the presentation
- 4. Preview the contents of the presentation
- 5. State the major and subordinate points to be covered in the presentation
- 6. Present their message in a logical and coherent manner
- 7. Use references where necessary and where appropriate
- 8. Speak grammatically correct Standard American English
- 9. Employ their voice in an appropriate and effective manner
- 10. Integrate visual support materials appropriately
- 11. Respond to the audience in an effective manner during a question/answer period
- 12. Summarize the main presentation points
- 13. Close the presentation with a socially appropriate statement.

Assessment Methodology
1) The locally developed oral communication competency examination will be embedded as an activity in SCM 285: Principles of Speech, a required general education course. Successful completion of SCM 285 is required of all NSU students. With the assistance of SCM 285 faculty, students will be required to record their final informational or persuasive speech presentations. A three-member panel consisting of NSU speech instructors and a speech language pathologist will review the recording. If the two raters disagree on a pass/no pass rating, a third rater will evaluate the speech. The third rater will make the final decision on the pass/no pass rating. An evaluation rubric based on NSU’s oral communication outcomes will be used to evaluate student presentations. Previous oral communication assessments using the rubric have resulted in high inter-rater reliability; Cohen’s kappa was .957 indicating very high inter-rater agreement. In addition, the Phi coefficient for the assessment was high (.99), which suggests that the scores are reliable.
2) The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is administered annually, with at least 300 seniors completing the survey. The NSSE data for seniors on item 11d (as used on the 2010 NSSE) will be reported.
3) The NSU Graduating Student Exit Survey (GSES) is administered to all NSU graduating students every semester. Annually, at least 600 students complete the survey. Data on the following GSES items will be reported to triangulate Oral Communication Exam and NSSE data:
In general, my education at Norfolk State developed or enhanced my ability to speak logically, clearly, and precisely. My major/program developed or enhanced my oral communication skills.

1) Competence in oral communication is defined as an overall score of four (4) or higher on the NSU Oral Communication Exam, which uses a six-point scale (6-outstanding; 5-effective; 4-competent; 3-inadequate; 2-seriously limited; 1-fundamentally lacking). 70% of students will score a 4 or higher on the NSU Oral Communication Exam.
2) Seniors will report levels of engagement/ perceived growth at the national average on item 11d on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
3) 80% of NSU graduates will report, on the Graduating Student Exit Survey (GSES), that their education at Norfolk State significantly developed or enhanced their ability to speak logically, clearly, and precisely and that their major/program developed or enhanced their oral communication skills (% 4+5 on a scale of 1-not at all to 5-a great deal).

Resource Box

Articles of Interest
Avanzino, S. (2010). Starting from scratch and getting somewhere: Assessment of oral communication proficiency in general education across lower and upper division courses. Communication Teacher, 24(2), 91-110. doi: 10.1080/17404621003680898
Dunbar, N.E., Brooks, C.F., Kubicka-Miller, T. (2006). Oral communication skills in higher education: Using a performance-based evaluation rubric to assess communication skills. Innovative Higher Education, 31(2), 115-128. doi: 10.1007/s10755-006-9012-x
Helsel, C.R., & Hogg, M.C. (2006). Assessing communication proficiency in higher education: Speaking labs offer possibilities. International Journal of Listening, 20, 29 - 54.
Jones, A.C., Simonds, C.J., & Hunt, S.K. The use of application essays as an effective tool for assessing instruction in the basic communication course. Communication Education, 54(2), 161-169.
Morreale, S., Backlund, P., Hay, E., & Moore, M. (2011). Assessment of oral communication: A major review of the historical development and trends in the movement from 1975 to 2009. Communication Education, 60(2), 255-278. doi: 10.108003634523.2010.516395

Websites of Interest
National Communication Association - Provides a conceptual framework for assessment as well as techniques, methods, and college student competencies.
VOCAT - Baruch College's Video Oral Communication Assessment Tool (VOCAT) is an open-source web application designed for assessment of oral communication. Instructors can access videos of students' oral presentations and provide feedback. VOCAT offers an easy-to use snapshot of students' progress.