Communications Assessment Deployment: Take One

By

T. L. Cole

 Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

Arkansas Tech University

 

N. Goza

Associate Professor of Accounting

Arkansas Tech University

 

L. C. Bean

Associate Professor of Business

Arkansas Tech University

 

L. F. Cochran

 Associate Professor of Management

Arkansas Tech University

 

L. K. Troboy

Professor of Management Information Systems

Arkansas Tech University

 

Because communication skills are crucial to the success of business professionals, faculty members need effective ways to assess business students’ communication skills.  The authors devised a multi-faceted assessment of undergraduate students’ oral and written communication skills as represented by research papers, essays, and videotaped presentations.  These communication samples were rated by a team of trained faculty members using rubrics developed for this purpose.  With respect to written communication skills, ratings of research papers indicate that students were at the 'developing' but approaching the 'competent' level on all dimensions (critical thinking, organization, language, convention, and sources). Upper-division students on average scored higher than lower-division students on essays, indicating that coursework may be somewhat effective in improving these skills. With respect to oral communication skills, the students were at the ‘accomplished’ level for attire and the 'competent' level for subject knowledge and organization but were at the 'developing' level for all other dimensions (introduction, thesis, connection to audience, eye contact, movement voice, and fluency).  The authors plan to use the results of this study to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses to make changes in course content and teaching methods that will enhance students’ communication skills as they enter the professional world.