Assessment Design: types of assessment task

Presentation

What is it?

Students can use presentations to report research findings, introduce a new curriculum topic to their peers, to reflect on experiences, to suggest just a few possible applications. Most programmes will include presentations as an assessment requirement at all levels, in order to give students practice at speaking to an audience.

Recommended levels:

3-7

Suitable for groups?

Yes

Things to think about

You do need to be clear about the purpose of the presentation and the intended audience. If a student is presenting the findings of a case study, do you want it to be as if to an audience in the workplace, or as an academic report? If one of the main purposes was to get students to produce a group product, then do you want them to talk in the presentation about how they worked together, or would you like that as a separate written report?

You can assess the presentation using tutor’s marks alone, or you can also include an element of peer assessment. As for all transient assessments we would recommend having two assessors present who should complete the mark sheet independently before conferring to agree a final grade after the assessment. If the subject of the presentation has an external element (eg using a case study from practice or on a new technique) then this may be a good opportunity to involve employers or alumni in the assessment process.

You need to decide whether to give marks for the quality of any audiovisual materials or handouts, and for presentation skills, as well as for the content. You also need to be clear if you are going to penalise presenters who exceed or undershoot the time allowance.

This kind of assignment can be stressful; students may find it helpful if you explain exactly what will happen during the presentation and give them opportunities to practice. Students with Personal Learning Plans relating to anxiety may need an alternative assessment.

Assignment length

You need to take into account the time needed for the assessment and the size of any groups. Individual presentations of more than five minutes would be difficult to assess in terms of scale. 10 minutes for a group of 4-5 is a fairly common length of presentation; this might account for 30-40% of the assessment a unit, probably accompanied by some supplementary written materials such as a handout or a short reflection on the process of preparation.

Group work

Presentations often lend themselves well to group work as it is possible for work to be divided up by sharing out the research and analysis, or by taking on roles such as research, slide preparation and presentation. If students take on different roles, they will need to be encouraged to vary their roles during their academic careers so that they gain experience in a range of tasks.

Plagiarism issues

If the presentation is used to present disciplinary content then plagiarism can be an issue as it may be for written assignments. If you are concerned about this then you could take in digital copies of the content and run them through Turnitin. You can reduce the plagiarism potential by relating the presentation title to topical issues, asking for plans at various stages in the term and discussing the content of the presentation in seminars, and asking questions following the presentation.

 

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