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Oral Communication Competency Test-Out Procedure

(Test-Out Documents)

Eligible students can attempt to test-out of the General Education Oral Competency requirement. The test-out procedure consists of two parts, a written test and an oral presentation.

Written Test

The written test is administered in a Department of Communication computer lab using one of the department's computers, and it is monitored by a Department representative. The test consists of 100 multiple choice and/or true/false questions based on the current edition of Stephen Lucas' textbook, The Art of Public Speaking. Copies of the textbook are available at local area bookstores.

Test results are posted online and are also sent via e-mail and hard-copy letter. A score of at least 85% is required to pass the written test. Only students who pass the written test are allowed to advance to the oral portion of the procedure.

Oral Presentation

Students who pass the written test are notified as to when they may attempt the oral portion of the procedure. It is administered only once each semester. This portion of the procedure requires the student to present an eight to ten minute persuasive speech to a panel of one to three faculty members and possibly an audience of his or her peers.

A complete full sentence preparation outline is required and is part of the evaluation. A bibliography in APA format is required and is also part of the evaluation. Additionally, two visual aids are required. The speech is videotaped and evaluated on a pass/fail basis. The decision of the faculty panel is final and no appeals will be heard.

The grading criteria and rubric as well as other helpful information can be perused in the Test-Out Documents. The criteria and rubric include directions on appropriate content, organization, speech specifics, and visual aid requirements. An evaluation form for the speech is also be provided.

Eligibility Requirements

To attempt to test-out of the oral communication requirement, the following eight requirements must be met.

  1. The applicant must be a registered student of the university.
  2. The applicant must  have a valid university ID number and a university e-mail address
  3. The applicant cannot currently be enrolled in Communication 111, 112, or 115.
  4. The applicant cannot have previously taken Communication 111, 112, or 115 and failed.
  5. The applicant must complete an application to take the test-out option.
  6. The applicant must provide evidence of previous training or instruction in public speaking.   Evidence must take the form of a letter on official organization or company letterhead.  When a previous course is offered as evidence, a syllabus from that course must also be included. Previous training may include, but is not limited to, 4-H speaking contests, job experience, membership in a speech organization, high school coursework, or similar activities.
  7. The applicant must pay a $35, non-refundable test fee, in cash or check prior to taking the written test.
  8. The applicant cannot have attempted to test out of the oral communication requirement previously.

If all eight requirements are met, and the applicant's previous training or instruction in public speaking is approved, the applicant will be contacted to schedule a date to take the test. Test dates are decided by the Director of the Basic Communication Program. Applicants are informed of the status of their application within two weeks of turning it in to the Department of Communication.

Academic Credit

Successful candidates of the test-out option are excused from taking a course to fulfill the oral competency requirement, and they are awarded three hours of academic credit toward their undergraduate degree.


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