Steven F. Freeman

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Presentation Evaluation Rubric

v 2.0

page last modified: 11/27/2018 09:18 PM








Audience can *feel* the problem; it’s palpable, its relevance apparent.

Purpose, thesis and argument are clear and permeate the presentation; audience is ready to hear something new and alert to what you have to say.

We understand the purpose and are interested but many problems or questions remain. We sort of understand the purpose and proposal, but are not engaged - “So what?” We don't know why you're giving the presentation or what the problem is.

Thesis is clearly, succinctly stated, The insight or solution is unexpected and compelling: Audience will come away having learnt something valuable. The solution is compelling; we are ready to act on it. At very best, paper provides an unexpected insight and/or raises important, unanticipated questions. Can change the way we think or even live.

We understand the thesis, but it is not particularly compelling or many problems or questions remain.

Presenter may make some decent points, but we're not sure what is the main point, or we don't believe it is even minimally supported.

We don't know what the point is or what we should be taking away from the talk.


Presentation is clear, logical and organized. Listener can follow line of reasoning. Main points clearly and conclusively demonstrate thesis, and are supported in turn by clear, sub-points. Every paragraph supports the main argument in a coherent way. Clear transitions/ clean flow between paragraphs and sections.

Generally clear and organized. Accessible to audience, and can be clarified with questions.

Listener can follow presen­tation only with effort. Some arguments are not clear. Organization seems haphazard.

Logic of arguments is unclear. Listen­ers are confused.

Main Points

Main points are clear, convincing and at least somewhat new or unexpected. Each point developed with and supported by data, e.g., statistics, stories, etc... based on a variety of legitimate and credible sources.

Main points are not that interesting or persuasive. Some lack of clarity, support data or too dependent on a single source.

Multiple problems with main points. Main points are trivial or unconvincing.

What main points?

Theory / concepts

Speaker provides an accurate and complete explanation of key concepts and theories, drawing upon relevant literature. Listeners gain insights.

For the most part, explanations of concepts and theories are accurate and complete. Some helpful applications are included.

Explanations of concepts and/or theories are inaccu­rate or incomplete. Little attempt is made to tie theory to practice. Listeners gain little from the presen­tation.

No reference is made to literature of theory. Listeners gain no new insights.

Data / Evidence

Key points and asser-tions are supported by concrete evidence drawn from primary research or reliable, cited sources. Each point and each assertion developed with and supported by data, e.g., statistics, stories, etc... based on a variety of legitimate and credible sources.

Main points are not that interesting or persuasive. Some lack of clarity, support data or too dependent on a single source.

Multiple problems with main points. Main points are trivial or evidence is unconvincing. Link between data and main points are unclear

What evidence? What data?

Content Accuracy

Through proper citation and attribu­tion, and support, presenter leaves audience convinced of content accuracy.

No significant errors are made. Listeners recognize any error to be the result of nervousness or oversight.

Errors distract a knowledgeable listener, but some information is accurate. The presentation is useful if the listener can determine what information is reliable.

Information included is sufficiently inaccurate that the listener cannot depend on the presentation as a source of accurate information. Listeners may have been misled.

Support material

Handouts used to support key points made in talk, provide documentation and assurance of accuracy and conclusions. May include quantitative support data or analysis that would be difficult to digest during the talk.

Some, but incomplete, documentation of key points made in talk,


Really should have supporting material, but don't.


Encourages and answers audience questions competently and concisely.

Demonstrates basic competence, but answers may be too long or circular; does not avoid questions, but may not encourage audience either.

Some competence, but answers may seem evasive or hiding something. May seem uncomfortable.

Basic incompetence. Wrong answers, avoid or ignore questions. Hostile to questioner.



Speaker is clearly comfortable in front of the group and can be heard by all. It's as though you're speaking directly, conversationally, to each of us individually.

Presenter competent, but seems uncomfortable or nervous at times. Audience may have trouble hearing the presenter.

Presenter seems uncom­fortable and can be heard only if listener is very atten­tive. Much of the informa­tion is read.

Information is read to audience. Presenter is obviously anxious and cannot be heard.

Apropos for audience

Level of presentation is appropriate for the audience. Presentation is a planned conversation, paced for audience understanding.

Level of presentation is generally appropriate. Pacing is sometimes too fast or slow. Minor use of jargon or undefined terms

Aspects of presentation are too elementary or too sophisticated for audience. Some major terms undefined.

Presentation consistently is too elementary or too sophisticated for the audience. Excessive jargon.


Sentences are complete and grammatical, and they flow together easily. Words are chosen for their precise meaning. Phrasing is strong and memorable.

Sentences mostly complete, grammatical, and fluent. But word choice, sentence structure, and style, are not sharp, precise, memorable or engaging.

Listeners can follow the presentation, but grammatical errors, slang incomplete sentences, halting speech, verbal tics, or limited/inappropriate vocabulary detracts.

grammar, vocabulary and fluency so inadequate that the audience cannot focus on the ideas presented.


Engaging introduction with a hook to something of relevance to the audience.

 Issue and agenda is clear.


You've started but we don't know who you are or what you're talking about.


Smooth, seamless effective transitions between main points

It's clear that we've moved on, but transition may be abrupt.


Audience doesn't know where you are or where you're going.


An effective, memorable summary, but something other than what was already said. Good segue into Q&A


 Restate key points. 

Run out of time. No summary. Trail off into tangential material.

Visual aids

Communication aids enhance the pres­entation. Font on visuals is large enough to be seen by all. Information is organized to maximize audience under­standing. Details are minimized so main points stand out.

Communication aids contri­bute to the quality of the presentation. Font size is appropriate for reading. Appropriate information is included. Some material is not supported by visual aids.

Communication aids are poorly prepared or used inappropriately. Font is too small to be easily seen. Too much information is included. Unimportant material is highlighted. Listeners may be confused.

Communication aids are needed but not used, or they are so poorly prepared that they detract from the presentation.



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