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Graduate School


Judging Criteria


Judges will evaluate competitors on two general categories:

  1. Content & Comprehension
  2. Communication & Engagement

Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience. For each of the two categories, judges will assign a score of 0 to 10. These scores will be added together, so the total maximum score is 20. Any competitor that exceeds the three minute limit is disqualified automatically. The winner in each heat will be the student whose presentation was three minutes or less and who received the highest total combined judges' score for that heat.

Content & Comprehension

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed, as well as its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Were the thesis topic, key results, and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they either rush or elaborate for too long on certain aspects of the presentation?

Communication & Engagement

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the presenter have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation, and was it clear, legible, and concise?


Judges are carefully chosen and assigned to each room in order to present possible conflicts of interest between judges and competitors.

Each preliminary heat will have three judges:

  1. NDSU Faculty Member
  2. NDSU Graduate Student
  3. Prominent Community Figure

The championship round will have six judges:

  1. NDSU Faculty Member or Administrator
  2. NDSU Faculty Member or Administrator
  3. NDSU Graduate Student
  4. Prominent Community Figure
  5. Prominent Community Figure
  6. Prominent Community Figure


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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Friday, July 13, 2018 12:23:11 PM
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