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University of Texas at Austin
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Criteria for Evaluating Informative Speakers

NOTE: Judges evaluate each performer individually based on the total presentation. At the end of the round, performers are ranked in order of the quality of the presentations: Best is first, second best is second, and so on. All contestants are ranked. There can be no ties.

The following criteria are of equal importance in evaluating the speaker:

I. Analysis and Content

  • Did the speaker answer the question?
  • Was the content informative?
  • Was there sufficient use of logic, facts, examples, and/or expert opinion?
  • Was the information adequately documented?
  • Was the information pertinent to the specific topic?

II. Organization

  • Introduction
    • Did the speaker get attention?
    • Was the topic clearly stated?
    • Did the speaker preview and give focus to the key ideas?
  • Body
    • Were divisions clear and appropriate to the topic?
    • Did the speaker make effective use of signposting, internal summaries, and transitions?
    • Was adequate time devoted to each division within the 7 minute time limit?
    • Was there a logical progression of ideas?
  • Conclusion
    • Did the speaker tie the speech together?
    • Was the answer to the question clear?
    • Was there a note of finality?

III. Delivery

  • Language Style
    • Was the language suitable to informing the audience?
    • Was the language precise, grammatically correct, and vivid?
    • Was the delivery natural and spontaneous?
    • Did it reinforce the ideas of the speech?
  • Vocal Delivery
    • Was enunciation clear?
    • Was volume appropriate?
    • Was there sufficient variety in rate, pause, and pitch?
  • Physical Delivery
    • Did the speaker exhibit poise and confidence?
    • Were gestures varied, movement motivated, and eye contact direct?
    • If note card was used, was it an unobtrusive part of the delivery?

Judges are encouraged to write comments and are given the following instructions: "The best critiques teach and encourage the student. Please offer areas of improvement and positive attributes of the speech. Be aware of your own implicit bias. Avoid comments about a student's attire."