One of the key concepts in education, along with teaching and learning, is assessment. Assessment is a method of finding out whether a student has understood and integrated the instructional material, and it can take a wide variety of forms. A school assessment might be a written report, a multimedia project, a group presentation, a classroom quiz or test, a standardized assessment, or an oral report.
An oral report is a presentation, usually done for a student’s teacher and classmates, though it can also be done for a larger segment of the school community, for parents, or for a more open group, depending on the circumstances. For example, at a science fair, a student might present a report on his or her project periodically for the class, for other visitors who pass by, and for judges.
A spoken report may have a variety of elements including an introduction, body, and conclusion. Audio-visual aids — such as posters, slides, movies, models, or other demonstrations — may be allowed or required. A question-and-answer session in which the student giving the presentation interacts with his or her audience may also be part of the expected proceedings.
An oral report is an opportunity for students to practice their speaking skills, but other skills may come into play as well. There are presentation skills, such as making eye contact with the audience, listening skills of a question and answer session, and the skill of anticipating how to present something in a way that will be understandable as well as appealing to the particular audience.
Although the report is oral, writing is often involved in its preparation — and sometimes the actual performance — of the presentation. A student may begin by creating a rough draft of what he or she will say and try reading it. The next step might be preparing either notes on a topic or an outline of points.
In preparing for an oral report, a student’s approach will vary somewhat depending on whether it must be delivered without notes. If the report has to be memorized, more practice will likely be required. If the student may speak from note cards or an outline — two popular methods for prompting one’s own performance — the preparation may focus more on other aspects of the presentation. Practice will also be shaped by how strict a time limit the student has been given: preparing a presentation to fall within a range is easier than trying to meet an exact length.