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Public Speaking
Judging Rubric: Suggested Criteria

Use the following criteria as a base for scoring and providing constructive feedback.
Keep in mind that the rubric offers a set of guidelines for judges; use age-appropriate
terms when phrasing feedback for youth.

Criteria 3 (Blue) 2 (Red) 1 (White)

General Neatly dressed and Adequate dress and Dress is sloppy,
Appearance, Poise, well groomed – good grooming; posture disheveled, or
Posture, posture; smiled when varied-affected by distracting;
appropriate; seemed nervousness or cleanliness or
confident and at ease stumbling; overcame grooming an issue;
throughout speech initial nervousness; was visibly stiff
spoke with a few and nervous (e.g.
pauses or fill words; slouched, paced)

Speech Material Material is age- Although material is Material is age-

Selection appropriate, easy to age-appropriate, it is appropriate for
follow, evidence of somewhat hard to audience; difficult
unity, coherence, and follow, lacking to follow, little to
emphasis aspects of unity, no evidence of
coherence, and unity, coherence,
emphasis and emphasis

Voice: Speaker’s voice Speaker attempted to Speaker attempted

Projection and varied effectively vary voice, to vary voice tone,
Volume, Fluency, with clear expression, expression, tone, and but with little
and Control clear pronunciation, volume, but was effect. Audience
speed, tone and occasionally too loud was inconsistently
volume to engage and or too soft to be engaged. Speaker
keep audience’s easily heard. Clarity was not loud
attention and be of speech was enough/clear
heard across the inconsistent. enough for the
room. Speaker talked The speaker’s judges to hear and
enthusiastically with personality was not did not convey
appropriate pauses. used as effectively as personality.
Tone of voice, pace it could have been to Speaker spoke in a
and emotion convey the message. monotone voice;
enhanced the impact Although the speaker spoke haltingly, or
of the speech. captured the was hard to
attention of the understand.
audience, s/he did
not maintain it;
inconsistent pausing
was noticed.
Speech Material organized Although theme is Purpose and basic
around a clear evident, material theme of speech
purpose with one could be more unclear; topic is too
basic theme; topic is clearly organized or broad; information
narrow; information material seemed is incorrect or not
is accurate, relevant organized, but theme relevant to topic;
to topic, and up-to- was not evident. The logical order of
date; speech has clear topic could be more speech not evident;
steps and logical specific. Information speaker doesn’t
order; speaker sticks is accurate but out- convey knowledge
to the subject and of-date or of the topic and
conveys extensive information is up-to- meanders; speech is
knowledge of topic; date, but could have missing an intro,
speech is complete been more accurate. body, summary or
with introduction, The speech did not conclusion; speaker
body, summary and consistently follow a does not adhere to
conclusion; speaker logical order or show time requirements
sticks to time clear steps. Although
requirements; highly the speaker conveys
effective use of knowledge of the
speech notes. topic, s/he didn’t
stick to the subject.
Although time limit
was adhered to, the
speech did not seem
complete; needed
Use of Language Speaker’s use of Speaker didn’t read Speaker read
language was entire speech, but speech from cards
excellent; the words hesitated and and stumbled with
were put together stumbled to some frequent hesitations
well to convey degree. Sounds and filler phrases:
meaning without memorized. More “aaa,” “like,” “you
appearing to be technical or know”. Speaker
memorized. Effective “flowery” terms used used technical
use of language than needed to terms or “flowery”
without being too provide effective terms without
technical or flowery. information. explanation or out
Correct grammar Grammar was of context. Words
used. inconsistently were not put
correct. together well –
meaning difficult to
Grammar was weak
or incorrect.
Appropriate Used natural Used some Used movement
gestures and eye movement and movement and and gestures that
contact. descriptive gestures gestures, but they distracted from the
that displayed energy, didn’t enhance the speech; (stiff,
created mood, and speech; some eye unnatural; body
helped audience contact, but relied on movement and
visualize. Only notes to a level of gestures were not
occasionally glanced distraction. coordinated with
at notes; made speech); little/no
consistent / eye contact
meaningful eye (speaker looked at
contact with the floor or at
audience. notes).

Response to Speaker seemed well Speakers answered Speaker seemed

Questions prepared and handled questions honestly unprepared for
questions with ease. and appropriately questions and had
The speaker was able and exhibited difficulty
to offer more knowledge of topic. formulating
information than was Some creative answers. Very little
originally covered in thinking and problem creative thinking
speech. The speaker solving skills and problem
displayed creative, evidenced; offered solving skills
spontaneous few spontaneous evidenced. Little
problem-solving in responses. evidence of
response to questions. spontaneity.

Developed by the Communications: Public Speaking Task Force. Chair: Kathleen Jamison, Ph.D., Virginia Curriculum and Learning
Specialist. Members: Lynn Berry, Kathy Alstat, Allan Taylor, Peggy Kellan, Laura McClenny, John Blankenship, Kaitlyn McAnulty.