WHAT AN ORAL PRESENTATION GRADE MEANS IN A COLLEGE LITERATURE COURSE
A = Exemplary, outstanding, excellent
The ÒAÓ presentation, like the ÒAÓ essay, exceeds normal expectations by giving more than what is required: originality of thought, depth of research, even some grace in articulation. Manifestly well-prepared, the student brings genuine intellectual substance to the occasion. The presentation has a thesis and dramatizes it persuasively. The text of the literary work, and its contexts of meaning, are always center stage. Audio-visual aids, when present, function dynamically to help get across the main points. The excellent presentation uses all of its allotted time efficiently. By the end, the audience feels that its understanding of the material has been improved significantly.
B = Proficient, superior, above-average
The superior presentation gives its audience exactly what is required: a clear main idea (if not an outstanding one), coherent and informed development, and straightforward articulation. Preparation is evident, although the thesis may not be as sophisticated, and the development may be less detailed or comprehensive than one would find in an ÒAÓ presentation. Audio-visual aids, when present, add relevant examples or convey important principles, but never take over the proceedings. The presentation makes full use of its allotted time.
C = Competent, adequate, average, passing
The average presentation conveys something of a high-school ambiance, as though the student were not particularly interested in the material, but had to get it over with in order to earn a passing grade. Like the thesis of a ÒCÓ essay, the main idea of a ÒCÓ presentation is often simplistic, and its development tends to rely on large generalizations. The most typical ÒCÓ presentation consists of a mildly amusing skit, usually based on a Òreality-TVÓ show. During the skit, the plot of the work under discussion might get rehashed, but the emphasis is clearly on entertainment (funny costumes, etc.), not on enlightened discussion.
D/F = Incompetent, inadequate, below-average, failing
The failing presentation is an embarrassment to sit through. ItÕs clear that the student has prepared very little of any intellectual substance or given the project much time or thought. Some failing presentations consist only of personal anecdotes or bad jokes; others rely on audio-visual aids to do all the work for them, typically just showing eye-catching images or playing a favorite video or CD with tangential relevance to the subject at hand. Still other failing presentations are juvenile in nature, and may feature the enforced playing of childish games or the distribution of tasty baked goods as distractions from the lack of content. Some are simply incoherent or incomprehensible. Failing presentations may have difficulty filling the allotted time or staying within it.