Student and Evaluator Perceptions of an Oral Equine "Speed Selling" Exercise

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 10:00 AM
3501D (Kansas City Convention Center)
Julia S. McCann , Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Abstract Text:

Evaluation skills taught in animal science curriculums often serve as foundation education for judging competitors that may be required to deliver oral reasons.   The formality and structure of the oral reasons may be a deterrent to some students’ enrollment.  Thus, a class of 43 students in an equine conformation and biomechanics class were required to apply their knowledge in two oral “Speed Selling” exercises for a grade.   Students were required to select an outstanding horse with photos and/or video and construct a maximum 90 sec presentation designed to “sell” the horse on its merits.  A panel of evaluators familiar with oral reasons volunteered to score students on a scale range from 1 to 5 for eye contact, voice strength, confidence, terminology, and analysis depth.  Students were required to present twice for the first exercise and had the option to present two or three times for the second exercise (top 2 scores recorded).  Class average grade recorded for the first exercise was 41.6±4.7 points while an improvement was evident when compared to the average 46±2.8 points for the second exercise.  To prepare, 70% of the students searched through a minimum of 4 to 10 horses (internet sales or farm sites) to find a suitable horse.  Most students (81%) elected to practice their oral presentation more than three times, either alone or in front of others.    Nervousness decreased from the first exercise (84% either agreed or strongly agreed they were nervous) to 56% on the second exercise.  All but 3 students felt the 90 sec time frame was appropriate for the exercise and 77% felt the exercise enhanced their verbal skills, a value similar to the 77% who felt they ultimately spoke more like a horseman.  When asked if the exercise should be included in future classes, 86% responded positively.  Among the volunteer evaluators, 67% were comfortable with scoring within 3 students.  Most evaluators (83%) preferred a 60 sec review time with the student to explain the scores given and agreed the exercise was worth their time.  Among the traits scored, evaluators indicated confidence was the trait most important in earning a higher score.   Oral speed selling scores were attained for the entire class within a 45 min time frame and the positive reception to the exercise from students and evaluators has insured the future implementation of the exercise. 

Keywords: equine, instruction, reasons