The Policies, Practices, Terms and Conditions of the Test-Out Process

Section 1: Eligibility and Restrictions

Students must have had a significant amount of speech-writing & public speaking experience to pursue the Test-Out option. Students will be asked to complete an application noting the experience they have had.
Students with limited speech-writing and public speaking experience are not eligible to pursue the Test-Out option.

Students who have taken Communication Studies 191 and received a grade, completed an equivalent course at another institution for credit, withdrawn from CMST 191 or from an equivalent course at another institution, or previously attempted to test-out of CMST 191 are not eligible to initiate and pursue the
Test-Out procedure. Students will be asked to provide a copy of their DARS report to verify eligibility.

Students enrolled in their final semester are not eligible to pursue the Test-Out option in an attempt to satisfy the Oral Communication requirement.

The Test-Out procedure must be initiated by the tenth week of fall or spring semester, at least one semester prior to graduation. This allows students to enroll in CMST 191 during their final semester, should they be unsuccessful in their test-out attempts.

Section 2: Application

Students will be asked to complete an application and supply a copy of their DARS report to verify eligibility. Students whose speech-writing and public speaking experience is limited (e.g., a speech given in high school) are not eligible to pursue the Test-Out option.

Section 3: Credit by Examination Form & Test-Out Credit Fees

Before beginning the Test-Out procedure, students must obtain a Credit by Examination Form from the Registrar's Office in Maxwell Hall. The form must have all the necessary signatures prior to beginning the examination portion of the Test-Out procedure.

A non-refundable fee of $15.00 ($5.00 per credit) is associated with the Credit by Examination Form.

Section 4: Phases 1 & 2 of the Test-Out Procedure

The CMST 191 Test-Out procedure consists of two parts: a written examination and a public speaking demonstration in which the student delivers an extemporaneous persuasive speech on a question of policy.

Phase 1: Written Examination
The first part of the Test-Out procedure involves completing a written examination on concepts and principles related to the learning objectives of CMST 191. The examination consists of 50 multiple-choice and true-false questions. Each question is worth two points. Students must earn a minimum score of 80%, answering at least 40 questions correctly, in order to continue on to the next phase of the Test-Out procedure.

All of the examination questions are based on information found in the public speaking texts used in the teaching of CMST 191. Two such texts are: A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking (Chapters 1-25 & 33) by O'Hair, Rubenstein, & Stewart (2007); and The Art of Public Speaking (Chapters 4-16) by Lucas (2004). Copies of these texts have been placed on four-hour reserve at Krueger Library for review purposes.

Students will be notified of the achieved score on the test-out examination via electronic mail.

The Department of Communication Studies has exclusive ownership of the completed examination. Students will not be permitted to view the examination after it has been evaluated and/or graded.

Phase 2: Persuasive Speech
Should the written examination portion of the Test-Out procedure be completed successfully, students are then eligible to continue with the Test-Out process. This will entail preparing and delivering an original persuasive speech on a question of policy to a team of faculty members within the CMST department.

(1) Students are responsible for arranging a face-to-face meeting with the Test-Out Coordinator to discuss the guidelines and requirements of the persuasive speech, and set a date for the delivery of the speech.

(2) Students will be given no more than two weeks following the electronic notification of successful completion of the examination portion of the Test-Out procedure, to present their persuasive speeches on a question of policy to a minimum of three Communication Studies faculty members.

(3) Students are allotted only one opportunity to successfully present their persuasive speech.

(4) Failure to speak on the scheduled date may result in the failure of the Test-Out procedure.

(5) The speech must be seven to ten minutes in length.

(6) The speech must be presented extemporaneously from limited speaking notes.

(7) The speaker must utilize one or more visual aids, demonstrating mastery in the use of such aids.

(8) The persuasive speech must be on a question of policy wherein the student addresses a problem and presents a solution, arguing its practicality. Personal action speeches, as well as persuasive speeches on a question of value or fact will not meet the requirements for the public speaking portfolio of the Test-Out.

(9) Students must submit 3 copies of their speech outline to the Test-Out Coordinator at least 3 days in advance of their scheduled speaking day. The outline should meet the content and form requirements of “final” speech outlines.

(10) Speeches will be evaluated initially on the degree to which the above-stated requirements are met. No further assessment will occur if the student fails to meet any of the requirements; the process will immediately end, with a no-pass upshot.

(11) Faculty evaluating the presentation will be free to utilize the evaluation form(s) of their choice. Students will receive at least one sample of an evaluation form that will be utilized in assessing the presentation. One such evaluation form is attached to this packet of materials.

(12) Speakers will be assessed, at a minimum, on the following: organization, clarity, use of connectives, audience adaptation, idea development, use of evidence, oral crediting, persuasiveness, reasoning, rhetorical sensitivity, eye contact, pronunciation, facial expression, vocal variety, conversational style, purposeful movement, speaking rate, and adherence to the designated speech length parameters.

(13) Faculty will collaboratively determine the quality of the persuasive speech using holistic judgments and criteria-based scoring.

(14) All student speeches will be recorded. Students wishing a copy of their speech should bring a re-writable DVD disc (+RW) to the Test-Out session.

The Department of Communication Studies has exclusive ownership of each of the faculty's evaluative responses to the student's persuasive speech. Students will not be permitted to view any of the speaker's speech evaluation scores after the speech has been evaluated and/or graded.

As noted, all requirements must be met for students to pass the second phase of the Test-Out process. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better by all faculty reviewers to successfully complete phase two of the Test-Out procedure.

Section 5: Grade or P/NC Option

Students may opt to pursue the Test-Out option for a letter grade or for credit only (P/NC).

Students will be asked to designate their preference at the onset of the Test-Out process. Retroactively changing their grading preference to P/NC or to a letter grade after completing the written examination or the public speaking demonstration will not be permitted.

Students must earn a “B” or better on both parts of the Test-Out to “pass” and receive credit for CMST 191, thereby satisfying the oral communication requirement at Winona State University.

Section 6: Grading Scale & Overall Score Requirements

The grading scale utilized for the Test-Out procedure is based on a standard curve.

A = 90 to 100%
B = 80 to 89%
C = 70 to 79%
D = 60 to 69%
F = below 60%

Final letter grades received via the Test-Out option will be based on the averaged score of the written examination and the persuasive speech. The two components will be equally weighed.

Section 7: Notification

Students will be notified of their Test-Out results via electronic mail within three days after delivering their persuasive speech and completing phase two of the Test-Out process.

Section 8: Academic Integrity

Students are accountable for standards of academic integrity throughout the Test-Out procedure.
Any commission of academic misconduct is grounds for terminating the Test-Out process. Academic misconduct includes the following:

1. Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, including others’ work constitutes cheating.. Examples of cheating in phase two of the Test-Out process include obtaining and using another student's speech or a speech from the internet or some other source. Similarly, having someone else write or edit a significant portion of the speech given would be considered cheating.

2. Deception and Misrepresentation: Lying about or misrepresenting one’s work, academic records or credentials. Examples include falsifying Test-Out application credentials and misrepresenting any speech content, such as facts, statistics, examples or testimony.

3. Fabrication: Falsifying or fabricating information, making up sources, or making references to sources not used in the speech itself.

4. Plagiarism: Using the words or ideas of another writer without proper acknowledgment so they seem as if they are one’s own. Plagiarism includes such behavior as copying someone else's work word for word, rewriting someone else's work with only minor word changes, and/or summarizing someone else's work without acknowledgment of the source.

5. Utilizing Prior Work: Using work previously submitted for another course constitutes a form of academic misconduct. The speech delivered for Test-Out must be originally crafted for this procedure.

For additional information about academic misconduct, see the Winona State University Undergraduate Catalog, 2010-2012.