Classroom Resources

There is no single feedback or assessment sheet that fits every presentation assignment. As you review these various options, you might realize that you need to tweak a sheet to get it exactly right for your own purposes. For this reason, each is provided as a .doc file, which you can download and edit as needed. Keep in mind that any evaluation sheet should do two things:

  • Provide feedback on each of those elements that you include in your grade. This is true whether the element has been part of your instruction or not. For example, if you require that students "dress appropriately" for a presentation and rate them more highly when they are wearing business attire, your evaluation sheet should include that as a scoring element. Similarly, if you intend to reward for "creativity" of a solution, regardless of its conformity to prescribed assignment parameters, that element should appear as a component of the assessment. Especially in areas where you have not provided specific performance standards, it is helpful to provide yourself with sufficient space to write explanatory comments.

  • Distinguish between "presentation skills" and "content" components of the grade. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a student does not understand the material being presented, or is simply presenting his or her thoughts incoherently. In the business world, it would not matter, but for pedagogical purposes, feedback should help a student to identify the specific areas that require attention. Similarly, it is helpful to provide specific feedback with respect to the basic elements of presentation, providing separate scores for "organization of the material" and "vocal delivery", for instance, rather than a single "presentation" score. Sample scoring sheets below are for presentation assignments.

  • Sample 1 This evaluation is designed as a peer evaluation. Students at UNI are loath to give negative criticism, but they will say "sort of", which allows them to offer more critical and thus more useful comments.

  • Sample 2 This evaluation provides a behavioral description of each kind of behavior involved in the delivery/presentation elements. These categories will not work for every assignment, but behavioral descriptions offer helpful "instructional" advice in courses where speaking skills are not explicitly taught.

  • Sample 3 This is a sheet designed to evaluate a group presentation in which each speaker is given a separate score.

  • Sample 4 This is the same scoring rubric for an individual speaker.

  • Sample 5 A scoring rubric for a specialized speaking assignment: the speaker is scored only on the clarity and completeness of a provable claim.

  • Sample 6 This project proposal score sheet includes more attention to content than the evaluations above, reserving fewer points for "delivery" elements.
In the Professional Readiness Program, we work closely with our colleagues in UNI Career Services. Matt Nuese and Laura Wilson focus on helping students who are interested in careers in business and industry and are eager to speak to students every chance they get. Their "Don't Cancel Class" program is an example of seizing available opportunities. Have a conflict with a class time? Rather than cancel class, contact the Career Center to bring a professional staff member to your class to discuss career related topics including networking, resumes, interviewing and internships.

Career Center ( or 273-6857)
  • The Room: People converse more when they are comfortable. Eliminate outside noise and distractions (traffic, air conditioning). Provide a pleasant environment (temperature, music, furniture, views). Eliminate nasties (trash, junk, extra chairs).

  • The Seating: People converse when they feel they are part of a conversational group. Place chairs in a circle or a "U". Small circle tables are better than rows of tables. Provide enough "personal space" for people and their "stuff." Create conversational distances of about 18 inches. Be sure everyone can see any audio-visual aids or materials.

  • Conversation Starters: People converse when they have something to converse about. Give early arrivers "host/ess" jobs. Provide conversation pieces. Make seating arrangements that require interaction. Greet participants as they arrive. Give participants something as they arrive. Ask participants to get information from each other. Use icebreaker exercises. Encourage self-disclosure by providing self-disclosure. Be early to class and encourage "social" conversation. "Work" the room; introduce groups and individuals to each other. Provide or create nametags. Don't provide things to read until you want to cut off discussion. Validate Student Contributions: People converse when their ideas are listened to. Write student contributions for all to see. Refer back to previous student contributions. Use Classroom Assessment Techniques. Listen to students' contributions. Respect the learner role.

  • Create an Atmosphere of Trust: People converse when they don't fear the consequences. Mix status, ability levels in seating. Sit down. Provide psychological safety (breaks, restrooms, okay to leave). Provide physical safety (maps, security). Smile at individuals and at the class as a whole. Make eye contact with all students. Don't use a lectern or podium. Greet students by name. Lay ground rules as a group. (tardiness, talking, attendance,participation, conversational courtesies, work assignments, breaks, food, drinks, interruptions, agendas, minutes, records, notetaking or sharing, roles, etc.) Let the group enforce the rules. Allow mistakes. Make mistakes. Use mistakes as a normal learning step. Be a "farther-ahead-learner" instead of an expert. Acknowledge students' backgrounds, perceptions, ways of learning. Build on participants' points (even if you have to fake it). Rephrase and encourage "poor" contributions. Give credit for "overheard contributions." Accept all contributions as "ideas". Speak for the initially hesitant. Get agreement or disagreement rather than original contributions. Use pro-social body language (learn forward, look at individuals, make eye contact, open hands and arms).
The Professional Readiness Program offers assessment, skill development, and faculty resources for both academic and business writing assignments.
Business-related writing activities in the classroom enhance students' skill development. Faculty can assist the process by
  • requiring students to create business documents (i.e. proposal, white paper, memo) rather than academic papers or essays.
  • providing a business context for the writing such as a scenario or targeted business audience.
  • emphasizing skills that are valued by business readers, brevity and directness, with page or paragraph maximums.
Contact the PRP to discuss classroom or one-on-one instruction. Instruction can be provided on any aspect of business writing, writing samples can be assessed, and students can be provided with feedback on their writing. All assessment and feedback is constructed to conform with the CBA Writing Rubric
Students enrolled in an internship or co-op may work with a writing mentor to format the required paper as a business document. This allows the student to practice professional writing skills as they create a portfolio item to demonstrate proficiency.
Faculty might recognize specific writing needs among certain groups of students.

Students writing in english as a second language

Although CBA students have passed an English proficiency exam, this does not mean their skills are perfect. You can expect students to write "with an accent," but cultural expectations present unique hurdles.

The direct writing style preferred by Americans is considered abrupt by Europeans. The linear organizational format assumed in U.S. business can be mystifying to an Asian or African writer accustomed to the "flower" design that brings all points back to a center. Careful attribution of individual authorship can make little sense to writers working within a collectivist culture.

Most international students are anxious to improve both their English language skills and understanding of U.S. culture. The PRP staff can work with students to provide individualized assistance.

Career-specific writing skills

Accounting & Finance

The accounting department has designated a style guide, McKay & Rosa, The Accountant's Guide to Professional Communication: Writing and Speaking the Language of Business, to be used in all written coursework. The Houghton-Mifflin Brief Accounting Dictionary can also assist students with writing. Much accounting and financial communication is subject to Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting Regulations. If writing for any federal government entity, writing is also subject to federal Plain English guidelines.

Marketing Communications

Professionals in marketing communication are expected to exhibit writing proficiency that exceeds expectations in other disciplines. Students can prepare by earning a Writing Endorsement or working with a PRP mentor to develop a professional portfolio.

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