The purpose of the present study was to determine if critical thinking skills, a key component of basic communication course pedagogy, can be assessed through students’ use of preemptive argumentation. Persuasive speech outlines were coded to determine if preemptive argumentation was present in students’ speeches and to determine the quality of preemptive argumentation. The results indicated that the majority of outlines contained preemptive argumentation. However, of those speeches containing preemptive argumentation, the majority of outlines employed low-quality preemptive argumentation. Finally, the findings revealed that the quality of preemptive argumentation employed in the persuasive speech outlines did not predict the students’ persuasive speech grades. Implications for instructor training programs and pedagogy in the basic course are discussed.



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