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Abstract

Effective public speaking skills are essential for a successful life. The authors provide an overall assessment of the basic public speaking course by examining fifteen student attributes divided into three categories (course engagement characteristics, dispositions, and demographics) hypothesized to affect learning and public speaking skill development in the basic course. A four-step hierarchical multiple regression tested two research questions (N = 709). Course engagement characteristics improved students’ public-speaking grade averages, but dispositions did not. The effects of demographic characteristics, particularly biological sex, were not eliminated after controlling for course engagement and dispositional factors (twelve variables). Implications and limitations of the study are addressed.