The Complete Rubric

Presentation And Delivery

Definition: High quality culminating performances should demonstrate a strong command of the mechanics of public speaking and presentation skills. These include characteristics of voice, language, body positioning, gestures, engagement with the audience, and possibly appropriate presentation aids (e.g. slideshows, graphics, etc) that complement, rather than subtract from, the presentation. Ideally, the delivery of a high quality culminating performance should also reflect students’ passion for the topic.

Opening Hook

Higher Quality 

3. Brief opener that draws the audience attention (e.g. audience interaction, creative performance, personal testimony).    

Example: May include video clip, poem, illustrative scenario, provocative question, song, anecdote, first person account such as, “We’d like to begin today by telling you a story from our childhood, a story that demonstrates the gravity of the situation we are bringing to your attention today.” Or, “Has anyone in the audience ever felt like they’ve experienced discrimination on the basis of the way they look or talk?” Or, “Can I get a volunteer from the audience to come up here for an activity?”

Lower Quality

1. The presentation does not include an opening hook. 

Example: Students do not engage the audience in any creative or interesting way. This includes jumping right into their research “We’re gonna get straight to it and introduce the problem setup to which the School Board needs to respond.”

Topic
Higher Quality 

3. The introduction establishes the topic of the presentation.

Example: Presenters  clearly state the topic within the first quarter of the presentation. “Today we are going to be discussing the issue of police brutality in Harlem.” Or, “Our group has decided to focus on food deserts, specifically the effects of limited fresh food sources on the health of  youth in our community.”

Lower Quality

1.The introduction does not establish the topic of the presentation.

Example: The audience is unclear what the topic is at the onset of the presentation. Students may jump right into data collection, data, or findings around a particular issue but never state the specific topic. Alternatively, so many topics may be introduced that the presentation becomes confusing.

 

Collaboration

Definition: When young people work on action civics projects, they often do so collaboratively. Collaboration is when people work together toward a jointly understood goal. In the course of the development of a presentation, collaboration can happen at many points (e.g., design, formulation of topic, allocation of roles, but for the purposes of this particular construct, collaboration is visible to the observer through the delivery of the culminating performance. High levels of collaboration are notable by presenters sharing speaking turns, when presenters help each other, the use of plural possessive pronouns when describing the project or work, and when presenters are attuned to each other. Low levels of collaboration are observed when presenters use highly individualistic pronouns, one team member dominates the ‘stage,’ or there are clear signs of confusion or disorder among speakers.

Talk Time
Higher Quality

3. Everyone on the stage delivers part of the presentation (even if length of speaking parts may vary)

Example: Each youth presenter has an obvious role in some part of presentation and no individuals are on stage without a clear purpose or role.

Lower Quality

1. Some team members speak for the whole group; remaining team members do not speak or just say their names.

Example: Sometimes speakers dominate the presentation by taking up multiple topics or constantly interrupting others. Other students may stand idly on the stage without any clear role in the presentation. 

Transitions Across Speakers
 

Higher Quality

3. Presenters coordinate their turns with each other and provide smooth transitions between speakers

Example: Youth show that they know which speaker comes next by identifying the  person by name or handing the microphone to the right person.  

Middle Quality

2. The presenters are mostly on the same page, but 1 or 2 transitions among speakers show confusion or uncertainty (such as a pause of more than 5 seconds showing uncertainty between turns).

Example: Youth have some confusion about who speaks next or cannot locate quickly where the next speaker is. This is especially obvious when there are multiple quick check-ins about who speaks next or passing of microphones back and forth without anyone speaking.

Lower Quality

1. There are 3 or more moments when speakers show uncertainty about whose turn it is. In general speakers do not appear to be on the same page about the order of the presentation

Example: During lowest quality cases, there will be significant confusion about speaking order. The youth will appear to not have rehearsed speaking order. Transitions become a significant distraction.

Assistance if Someone Falters
Higher Quality

3. If a team member falters for more than 5 seconds, others lends assistance (such as whispering some guidance, showing physical gesture of support, or stepping in to help out by saying the point).

Example: The speaker forgets the assigned lines or stumble through words for several seconds. Another presenter shows support or concern through gestures or words. A new speaker may step in to help out their peer.

Lower Quality

1. When a team member falters for more than 5 seconds, presenter is left to struggle for too long  (5 seconds or more) without help or is prematurely preempted by another speaker.

Example: There are two ways that student groups can get this score. First, a student is left to struggle or become emotional to the point where the presentation stalls or the student expresses visible frustration. Second, if student struggles within a second or two another presenter jumps in without permitting the student to recover. Struggling for 5 seconds or more is crucial for a 1.  

 

Problem Identification

Definition: When young people advance a policy argument in public settings, there is typically either an explicit or implied problem or issue that the policy argument is meant to address. Problem identification refers to whether the young people’s culminating performance offers a clear perspective or framework by which the audience can understand the extent and scope of their focal problem. Simply put, how well does the youth presentation identify a problem, provide evidence about that problem, and analyze and situate that problem in a broader context? Presentations with high quality problem identification will also demonstrate the relevance of that particular problem to the students’ personal lives.

Naming the Problem
Higher Quality

3. Presentation clearly names a problem and provides two or more types of evidence about the extent or importance of problem. Types could include: personal testimony, surveys, interviews, GIS, archival data)

Example: “In our action civics project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is currently becoming widespread as a national issue as evidenced by X’s recent study, it became especially evident as a problem to our community during the last election when we were unable to vote for our representative. Specifically, our survey of 49 neighborhood residents revealed that 75% of them no longer were familiar with the representatives in their district. When we followed up with interviews, we found out that this was most often because they lived in homes on streets that had recently been redistricted…”

Middle Quality

2. Presentation names problem and provides some evidence of extent or importance of problem(s).

Example: The following example discusses the same problem, but only provides one type of evidence: “In our project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is a big problem across the nation and in our state, it became especially evident as a problem to our community during the last election when we were unable to vote for our representative. In fact, when we interviewed two dozen community members, we found out that this was most often because they lived in homes on streets that had recently been redistricted and had since become unable to vote for the representative that aligned with their interests…”

Lower Quality

1.  Presentation names a problem, but offers no evidence of extent or importance of problem(s)

Example: “In our project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is a big problem across the nation and in our state, it is also a problem in our community.

Lowest Quality

0. Presentation does not identify a problem or identifies so many that focus of presentation is unclear.

Example: To receive this score, it would be unclear to the viewer what the most central problem was of the presentation. An example of this type of phrasing might be something like, “We focus today on the super important issues gentrification, displacement, and gerrymandering,” and during the entire presentation it would remain unclear as to the central or targeted subject of inquiry. All three issues would be discussed but not in clear relation to a central problem that is impacting the students and their communities.

Was this evidence convincing?
Highest Quality

3. Yes, the evidence presented was credible and convincing to me.

Example: Presenters provide enough information about the problem to appear credible and the information is presented in a compelling manner. Typically groups that receive the highest scores on the “Naming the Problem” indicator also receive a similar score on this indicator because of the amount of data provided. However, this indicator is subjective and solely relies on the reviewers’ discretion

Middle Quality

2. The evidence was lacking certain details or clarity, which made it just “sort of” convincing.

Example: Presenters provide enough information about the problem to appear somewhat credible but not enough information to convince the reviewer that their topic is actually a problem that requires a policy solution. Typically groups that receive a 3 score on the “Naming the Problem” indicator also receive a similar score on this indicator because of the amount of data provided. However, this indicator is subjective and solely relies on the reviewers’ discretion

Lower Quality

1. The presenters offered data but it was not credible or convincing.

Example: Presenters provide some evidence about the problem, however the evidence provided did not compel the reviewer to believe that the topic was deserving of further inquiry. Typically groups that receive a 2 score on the “Naming the Problem” indicator also receive a similar score on this indicator because of the credible nature of the data. However, this indicator is subjective and solely relies on the reviewers’ discretion.

 

Lowest Quality

0. The presentation did not offer any data or evidence.

Example: While the presenters did introduce a problem, they do not provide any evidence or data that serves to compel the audience to believe in the credibility of the problem.  

Analyzing the problem
Highest Quality

3. Problem identified, cause identified, and a cause is situated in larger policy or social context in a clear and explicit fashion.

Example:  An example of this includes situating a discussion of high school “dropout” rates within broader discussions of systemic racism and/or the ways that racism functions in schools. Another example of this may be connecting their local problem to issues and movements addressing similar problems across the country

Middle Quality

2.  Problem identified and cause of problem identified. Presentation does not clearly and explicitly situate the cause of the problem in a larger policy or social context

Example: Students attempt to situate their problem in a broader context, but the connections do not seem to match up. For example, students who discuss high school “dropout” rates might present differences across various student races and ethnic groups but not explore causes for why those different rates exist.

Lower Quality

1.  Problem identified, no clear cause identified (none at all or too many unfocused and unrelated)

Example: Students’ analysis of dropout rates as a focal problem is limited to student performance. Students pay  no attention to school context, societal, or systemic factors. Or, their analysis lists so many factors contributing to dropouts that the observer does not have a clear sense of their point of view or analysis.

Lowest Quality

0. Presentation does not identify a problem or it identifies so many problems that the focus of the presentation is unclear.

Example: Students discuss low performance of test scores, but do not directly state that it is a problem. Or students might begin discussing dropout rates and then transition to identifying student college rates and high stakes testing performance as problems as well.

Relevance to Speakers
Highest Quality

4. Description of the problem includes some discussion of relevance to the everyday lives or aspirations of the speakers

Example: Presenters directly name or describe how the problem being discussed is impactful to their lives and matters to them in a real way.  

Lower Quality

1. Description of the problem makes no reference to impact on everyday lives or dreams of the speakers

Example: A group discusses gentrification as a problem but does not state how gentrification affects the presenters themselves. The problem stays abstract. 

 

 

 

Research Methods

Definition: To build a case for the existence or severity of a problem, presenters often provide evidence based on research. The type of evidence, as well as the approach to research, can vary widely. Presenters may provide their own survey data, census data from data sets, first person accounts (testimonials) or multimedia (video, maps, audio). Regardless of the type of evidence, the quality and relevance of the evidence is important to the strength of the action civics work. And regardless of the chosen approach to research design, the quality and relevance of the approach is also important to the strength of the young people’s argument. Accordingly, quality within this construct refers not only to how well youth understand their data, but also how they leverage it within their culminating performance-- in other words, do they make visible to the audience both the ways in which they went about collecting their data as well as their rationale for methodological approach?

   Methods for Data Collection
Highest Quality

3. Presenters talk, in detail, about their method(s) (e.g. literature review, personal testimony, survey, interview, observation), how they gathered the data, and type of data analysis.

Example: In their presentation to the local school board about bullying, the youth presenters share the details of their survey-- how they created it, what research questions were guiding the survey, how and who they distributed it to. They state how many people participated in the survey and how they had to throw out two surveys because they were incomplete. They then discuss how they computed results from the closed-answer questions in the survey and how they analyzed themes for the open-ended questions.  

Middle Quality

2. Presenters mention their method(s) but do not provide detail how or why they went about their data collection or analysis.

Example:  The students tell the school board that they conducted a survey to get student perspectives on bullying, and they provide some descriptive statistics about the results. But they do not provide details, such as information about how many students participated or what questions were asked in the survey.  This leaves the school board confused and with a limited understanding of the severity of bullying in their school district.

Lowest Quality

1. Presenters do not mention their methods or mention any data to support argument

Example: The students presentation on bullying to the local school board argue that the issue is severe and affects many students. They do not provide any data or information for how they know that bullying is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed in their schools.

Presentation of Results or Findings
Highest Quality 

3. Thoroughly describe the data or results of their inquiry (such as extended quotes or survey results)

Example: In their presentation to the superintendent on the school to jail track in the school district, the students show the rates of suspensions for students of color versus White students for the same offenses. They then focus on case studies of two students who commit the same offenses in school but whose lives lead to different outcomes. Finally, they highlight quotes from interviews with peers who shared their experiences of unfair disciplinary actions in school.

Middle Quality 

2. Presenters mention some data but do not provide detail.

Example: In discussing the school to jail track with the superintendent, the students mention that students of color are suspended at higher rates than their White peers for the same offenses. They do not provide detailed data that exposes the unjust outcomes and effects that these disproportionate disciplinary tactics have on the lives of students.

Lowest Quality 

1. Data informing or supporting the policy proposal are absent or unclear.

Example: Students state that disciplinary actions in their schools are unfair and racist. They do not, however, provide a context or data to support their claims.

Connection of Methods to Problem or Policy
3. Youth provide reasons why their particular choice of research methods is relevant to understanding their problem and their policy proposal.

Example: Rather than focus on the quantitative rates of bullying in their school, the youth choose to lead with quotes from interviews.  They argue that focusing on the voices of young people being bullied must be central to policies that address bullying. Pushing for a policy that would require all students to participate in restorative justice training, the presenters highlight the urgency of addressing bullying by emphasizing the experiences of their peers through qualitative data.

1.The research methods chosen do not appear relevant to either understanding the problem or the policy proposal.

Example: Students focus their presentation on the voices of students being bullied, but rather than focus on ways to address the needs of those students or remedying the complex and multilayered issues of bullying, they propose a policy that outlines harsher disciplinary action for bullying cases.

 

Policy Proposal

Definition: This is an opportunity for young people to propose a new policy, change an existing policy, or hold people accountable for implementing a policy. A “policy” is a set of rules or commitments that govern a school, government, or organization, to which people in positions of authority can be held accountable. Successful policy proposals enable a youth group’s ideas to be sustained after individual team members have left the group. School policies include such issues such as rules for student behavior, time allowed for lunch, new classes offered, or requirements for curriculum. Cities make policy when they adopt rules affecting housing, transportation, and parks, or when they fund new programs such as youth services. States make policy when they set prices for college tuition, require or prohibit health education in schools, or develop new funding formulas for school districts. These are all examples of possible policies.

Rationale for Proposed Policy
3. Presentation articulates a clear policy proposal and provides evidence or reasoning in support of the proposed policy    

Example: Students in a leadership collective in their housing community are concerned with the property managers lack of communication with residents regarding eviction and fines. In a presentation at the monthly resident meeting, the students share an example of a successful program from a community similar to their own that significantly reduced eviction rates and fines. The policy they propose outlines similar communication escalation processes and demands that all communication be in the residents first language.

2. Presentation articulates a clear policy proposal but offers incomplete or confusing evidence or reasoning in support of the proposed policy.

Example: In their presentation to the community about a proposed policy that will ensure more clear communication between residents and the property manager of the housing community, the students share narratives of miscommunication but also highlight the times when the property manager has used effective communication with residents such as speaking in their first language.

Presentation articulates a clear policy proposal but no evidence or reasoning is provided in support.   

Example: In their presentation to the community about the necessity of a policy that lays out clear communication escalation processes for the benefit of residents, the students do not share how not having this policy is currently affecting residents.

0. No policy proposal is offered.

Example: The students in the leadership collective present the data collected from their interviews with residents but do not articulate a clear policy to address the communication issues between residents and the property manager. The students only mention that a change is necessary.

Policy Values Framing
3. Presenters make an explicit, stated connection between policy proposal and a set of values or arguments that are intended to resonate with the audience.

Example: Students presenting at a higher education conference that focuses on college completion propose a policy for creating a more affordable college tuition program in their state system. To frame their proposal, they appeal to audience members’ belief that the state economy will be stronger with more college graduates. Or, for a student team speaking to their School Board about improving advising for immigrant and refugee students, the presenters appeal to audience members belief that education is a human right and that all students deserve a chance to succeed.

  1. Presenters do not make an explicit connection between the policy proposal and a set of values that are meant to resonate with the audience.

Example: Students articulate in their proposal the need for anti-bullying classes in their school, but do not appeal to the audience members’ beliefs that a safe school environment should be available for all students.   

0.) No policy proposal is offered.
Proposed Implementation
3. Presenters explicitly articulate who is responsible for enacting policy and a timeline for when and how to implement policy.

Example: As the students in the leadership collective at a housing community present their data, context, and proposed policy for addressing the communication issues between the property manager and the residents. The policy outlines a communication escalation procedure that includes the director of programming for the community and the housing authority representative from the county. In the presentation, the students ask these decision makers and directors to commit and oversee the policy, ensuring that the policy become effective by the next rent cycle

2. The presentation explicitly EITHER articulates who is responsible for enacting the policy OR a timeline for policy implementation, but not both.

Example: The students in the leadership collective at a housing community present their data, context, and proposed policy for addressing the communication issues between the property manager and the residents. The policy outlines a communication escalation procedure that includes the director of programming for the community and the housing authority representative from the county. In the presentation, the students ask these decision makers and directors to commit and oversee the policy. The students leave the date for the policy to become effective open.

  1. The presentation does not explicitly articulate who is responsible nor does it offer a timeline for policy implementation.

Example: In their presentation to the community, property manager, and representative from the housing authority, the students put forth their ideas for a communication policy but do not require that anyone oversees the policy nor do they provide a date or timeline for the policy to take effect.

 

0.) No policy proposal is offered.

Example: Students share what other communities have done to address communication issues between residents and property managers and landlords, but offer no clear policy for their own housing community.

Connection to the Focal Problem
3. Presenters explain how the policy proposal will address the focal problem.

Example:

Students studying push out rates in school, specifically focusing on the detrimental effects Eurocentric curriculum has on students of color, propose a policy that ethnic studies courses be required for all students during their freshmen year of high school and then available for students to take in the following years leading to graduation. The students argue that ethnic studies curriculum will provide students with opportunities to learn about their history, see themselves in the curriculum, and be able to empower themselves as teachers and learners. This will give students a stronger sense of self and encourage them to resist other push out factors in K-12 schooling.

2. The viewer can discern a relationship between policy proposal and focal problem, but this connection is not made explicit by the presenters.

Example: The students begin their presentation by discussing the positive affects ethnic studies courses have on K-12 students. While their proposed policy to require ethnic studies courses in their district at the 8th grade level, the students do not  specifically state how this might specifically address the problem of push out rates in the district.

  1. The policy proposal does not relate to the focal problem or contradicts what was said earlier in the presentation about the problem.

Example: Students studying push out rates in school, specifically focusing on the detrimental effects Eurocentric curriculum has on students of color, propose a policy that ethnic studies courses be offered as an advanced honors course during students senior year of study. This policy does not address the severe impact Eurocentric curriculum has on students for the years leading up to their senior year, resulting in push out rates and preventing students from reaching the requirements to take the course.

0. No policy proposal is offered.

Example: The students discuss studying push out rates in school, specifically focusing on the detrimental effects Eurocentric curriculum has on students of color, but do not provide any ideas or policy recommendations for how to address this issue.

Call to Action for in-person Audienc
3.) Audience of the presentation is offered clear action steps they should take to implement or support the proposed policy.

Example: The students demanding that Ethnic Studies be a required class in their high schools are giving a presentation in their local community. After school board officials refused to enact such a policy, the students use this presentation to encourage all students in high school to stage a walk-out. They ask all high school students to help organize at their respective schools and wear t-shirts that reference the Ethnic Studies policy.

2.) Audience of the presentation is asked to take action, but specific steps are vague or not directly related to advancing the proposed policy

Example: In their presentation with the school board, the students put forth a policy proposal that would require ethnic studies courses in the district's high schools. The students do not specifically state that they want to put this policy up for a vote at the next school board meeting. After the presentation, the school board members are under the impression that the policy is a good, yet hypothetical idea, unaware that they could help by putting it to a vote.

  1. Audience of the presentation is not asked to do anything.

Example: Students at a high school meet with community members at a local town hall to discuss their efforts to implement ethnic studies course requirements. The students reviewed their research, discussed their policy, but did not ask the audience to support in any particular way.

 

Response to Questions

Definition: In some presentations, young people will have the opportunity to respond to questions and/or comments from the audience. This is often an opportunity for young people to further expand on their arguments, provide new points, or reaffirm their positions or ideas. High quality student responses will demonstrate a good handle on their evidence, persuasive rhetoric, and deep conceptual understanding of their breadth and depth of their chosen action civics problem.

Overall Response to Questions
3. Response shows presenter understood question; response addresses question directly, is clear, and coherent.

Example: In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an adult audience member asked the student, “How does your policy compare to other policies for addressing homelessness across the country?” The student thanks for person for their question and says, “In developing this policy we actually looked towards other states and countries as models. States such as…”. the student continues to list the ways in which other cities are reorganizing budgets for homeless shelters.

2. Presenters appear to have misunderstood part of the question or only responded to part of the question.

Example:In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an adult audience member asked the student, “How does your policy compare to other policies for addressing homelessness across the country?” The student thanks the person for their question and responds, “Other countries care more about homelessness than our country and that shows by how much they invest in homeless shelters.” No further details on the policies from other countries are provided by the presenters.  

1. Presenters ignore the question, appear unable to respond, or respond in a hostile way.

Example: In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an adult audience member asked the student, “How does your policy compare to other policies for addressing homelessness across the country?” One student on the panel thanks the audience member for their question and looks at his fellow presenters to respond. No one responds and within a few seconds, a different  student calls on a new audience member for another question.

Response to Data-related Questions
3. Speakers demonstrate confident and accurate knowledge of their data. Presenters do not need to rely on script to clarify methods or findings.

Example: In a presentation where students share research showing the portion of the city budget allocated to homeless services, an audience member asks a question about the budget representation that wasn’t explained during the presentation. In response, a student is able to clearly explain the graph or table in terms of details that were not previously mentioned. Moreover, the group is prepared with other data slides that provide further evidence about their issue.

2. If asked a data related question, speakers reiterate prior evidence or prior points without innovation or expansion.

Example: An adult audience member asks the students detailed questions about the feasibility of the budget they proposed for their project during the presentation. In responding to the query, the students refer back to their powerpoint presentation which outlines their proposed budget line items, repeating the same information they shared during the presentation. They offer no further detail or explanation as to how they came up with the budget presented.

1. Speakers struggle to respond. May look to an outside person for assistance, fumble and/or appear to not understand or feel confident in their evidence.

Example: After the question on the budget details, students look toward their faculty advisor for support in answering. After a long pause, one student begins to answer but the answer is confusing and unclear.

Response to Disagreement or Counter-argument
3. Presenters show they listened and understood the counter-argument; they respond without relying on their script or outside help. Response expands on prior points or adds a new point.

Example: In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an audience member asks t “Wouldn’t this be enabling people who are simply lazy and do not want to work?” In response, the student first acknowledges the comment and that some audience members might fear that this proposal just contributes to dependency on services. But the student goes on to say that they thought about this issue and that the resources will be distributed in ways that enable people to support themselves and get back on their feet. A second student adds that we have a moral obligation to people who have experienced poverty or discrimination.

2. Presenters respond by repeating their prior talking points.

Example: In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an adult audience member asked the student, “Wouldn’t this be enabling people who are simply lazy and do not want to work?” In responding to the query, the students refer back to their powerpoint presentation which outlines their original proposal and restates their goals.  . They offer no further arguments or reasons to rebut the assumptions in the audience question.  

Presenters fumble, do not respond, or look to an outside person for help.

Example:In a presentation where students proposed a policy for new city budgeting that would provide more resources for homeless shelters, an adult audience member asked the student, “Wouldn’t this be enabling people who are simply lazy and do not want to work?” The students look towards their faculty advisor for support in answering. After a long pause, one student begins to respond but the answer is confusing and unclear and it is unclear if they agree or disagree with the questioner. Or, the students look at each other and no one wants to respond so they go to the next question. .