Keywords: Coherency, expression, articulation, syntax, attentiveness

Introduction to Communication

The ability to successfully communicate with others is often thought of as a foundational skill regardless of the field of work or academics one is involved in.  Many universities require some form of a communication course or public speaking class in order to develop this skill.  However, students’ communication skills don’t only develop within a classroom setting.  For example, many student organizations that fall under the umbrella of student affairs may require that their students are able to convey a message to large groups of people.  Furthermore, small groups, or even one-on-one settings, require the ability to adequately communicate needs, desires, or problems.  Correctly understanding a student’s ability to communicate, measuring their attitudes towards communication, or even identifying any hinderances (cultural boundaries, etc.) can be essential to providing support within the realm of student affairs.

When Would You Measure Communication?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure communication if their goal is to gauge:

  • Students’ attitudes towards communication (either an avoidance of these settings or a desire to participate)
  • Perceived growth of communication skills as a result of participating in a program
  • Relationships between communication and other developmental skills (e.g. leadership, participation, etc.)



 Those wanting to measure communication may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

Academic and Cocurricular Involvement: Their Relationship and the Best Combinations for Student Growth (Huang & Chang, 2004)  

  • The authors explore two hypotheses related to the growth and development of students based on the level of involvement in academic and cocurricular programs. They assess communication skills in relation to these different settings among other things. 


Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence as a Student Outcome of Internationalization (Deardorff, 2006)

  • This article focuses on better understanding and defining intercultural competence for students. Furthermore, the author provides multiple models for better understanding the many facets (communication skills, behavioral changes) that lead to better intercultural communication competency.


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

The following instruments/measures have been used to assess communication:

  • Self-Perceived Communication Competence Scale
  • Intercultural Sensitivity Index
  • Social Skills Inventory


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Engagement, Motivation

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