Creativity Assessment in Higher Education

Creativity Assessment in Higher Education

Christine Charyton (Ohio State University, USA), Zorana Ivcevic (Tufts University, USA), Jonathan A. Plucker (Indiana University, USA) and James C. Kaufman (Learning Research Institute, California State University at San Bernardino, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-667-9.ch005
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This chapter discusses creativity assessment as a means for evaluating skills required in higher education. Creativity is assessed in the context of the creative person, process, product and press or environment. Creativity is also measured differently in various domains, which we illustrate using divergent thinking tests. A historical view of creativity assessment is addressed with a substantive approach to understanding the construct of creativity, its measurement and evaluation, and the broader implications for use in higher education settings. The authors provide a comprehensive overview of the different ways creativity is assessed and hope to inform researchers concerned about finding ways to better individualize instruction and to evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs.
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Education requires creativity. Effective higher education, which aims to prepare students for the world of professional work or postgraduate education, emphasizes creativity in thinking and problem solving. Torrance (1988) stated that creativity is almost infinite. How do we assess a skill that approaches infinity? Psychologists and educators are in consensus that creativity requires novel and adaptive solutions to problems. We talk of creativity when a student designs an interdisciplinary major to address interests that cannot be addressed through existing curricula, when a student solves a problem that is different from those directly practiced in homework assignments, when a student comes up with an idea for a paper or a research project, and many other situations that are defining of higher education. It appears that aesthetic taste and a lack of conventionality are consistent characteristics of creativity in all domains. However, the creative person is always operating within a domain, discipline or craft.

Measuring creativity in higher education will be beneficial for several reasons. First, such assessments ‘diagnose’ the state of creativity in an educational context. That is, creativity assessment answers the question whether students who are future professionals show creativity in their work. Second, creativity assessment can help educators better understand who the students with potential for future professional creativity are. In this context, we are able to answer whether a person is likely to be a significant professional contributor to a domain of work. Third, creativity assessment can offer feedback to both students and faculty. Finally, creativity assessment can offer information about how changes can be made to the classroom environment to facilitate (and not impede) creativity.

Creativity requires both novelty (originality) and usefulness (adaptability). Sternberg (2000) proposed a challenging idea that creativity is a decision. This idea implies that creative giftedness is not a fixed trait, but a decision-making skill that can be developed. Consequently, research in creativity may lead toward teaching creativity (Schneider, 1997).

Four basic themes can be discerned in creativity research literature. First, it has been suggested that creativity is present in every individual, that all people possess creativity and creative problem solving abilities to some extent (Runco, 1994; Weisberg, 1999). Second, while many people are creative to some extent, some people tend to be more creative than others (Gough, 1985; Sternberg, 2001). For example, personality attributes may explain how some individuals are more likely to exhibit creativity (Gough, 1985). Third, creativity can be studied as a manifestation of cognitive skills that are developed within a creativity-fostering environment. Fourth, fuller understanding of creativity requires an integration and combination of these themes (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). The investment theory defines creativity as resulting from an interaction of six “resources”: intellectual abilities, knowledge, styles of thinking, personality, motivation and environment.

In order to comprehensively assess creativity, several major areas of interest can be identified. These areas prominently include the creative process, creative person (or personality), and creative products. These are broad areas that can help organize creativity research and assessment and each area includes many different assessment approaches that have been extensively written about. Our goal in this chapter will be to offer an overview of creativity assessment for each of these three areas and describe in more detail one important assessment technique illustrating the creative process, person, or product.

Kaufman and Baer (2005) stated that creativity is likely domain specific. People are most likely to be creative in one domain and few people may be creative in two or more domains (Ivcevic & Mayer, 2007). People may be more likely to take risks within their own domain where they have a higher comfort level. Furthermore, personality profiles may to some extent vary according to the type of creative achievement (Feist, 1999).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creative Product: An idea or object produced from creative activity in a certain domain.

Creative Person: Personality traits that foster creativity.

Constraints: Tasks, goals, and materials within parameters.

Convergent Thinking: having one correct answer to a problem.

Divergent Thinking: Generating a large number of responses that satisfy a certain criterion with responses that depart from the ordinary and obvious; assessed by fluency (number of responses), flexibility (different kinds or categories), originality (usual solutions) and elaboration (lists many of a kind).

Creative Process: Components include problem finding, generation of ideas or solutions, and evaluation of these ideas for their quality or usefulness.

Creativity: Requires both novelty (originality) and usefulness (adaptability).

Domain Specificity: Being creative in a specific field, discipline or craft.

Functional Creativity: Emphasizes novelty, resolution, elaboration and synthesis.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Christopher S. Schreiner
Christopher S. Schreiner
Chapter 1
Melissa A. Dyehouse, John Y. Baek, Richard A. Lesh
This chapter describes a model for evaluating complex organizations or systems. The design assessment model the authors propose is a response to... Sample PDF
Multi-Tier Design Assessment in the Development of Complex Organizational Systems
Chapter 2
Hedva Lewittes
In this chapter critical thinking is assessed using two critical thinking learning outcomes that were required for the State University of New... Sample PDF
A Critical Thinking Rubric as the Basis of Assessment and Curriculum
Chapter 3
Suzanne Pieper, Erika Edwards, Brandon Haist, Walter Nolan
The purpose of this chapter is to review literature over the past ten years regarding technology tools that are being used in higher education to... Sample PDF
A Survey of Effective Technologies to Assess Student Learning
Chapter 4
John Baer, Sharon S. McKool
The Consensual Assessment Technique is a powerful tool used by creativity researchers in which panels of expert judges are asked to rate the... Sample PDF
Assessing Creativity Using the Consensual Assessment Technique
Chapter 5
Christine Charyton, Zorana Ivcevic, Jonathan A. Plucker, James C. Kaufman
This chapter discusses creativity assessment as a means for evaluating skills required in higher education. Creativity is assessed in the context of... Sample PDF
Creativity Assessment in Higher Education
Chapter 6
Asao B. Inoue
This chapter articulates writing assessment as a technology, theorized with three aspects (power, parts, and purpose), accounting for the ways in... Sample PDF
The Technology of Writing Assessment and Racial Validity
Chapter 7
Sheila S. Thompson, Annemarie Vaccaro
The purpose of this chapter is to address epistemological and methodological approaches to assessing assessment. The authors’ intent is to show how... Sample PDF
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods as Complementary Assessment Tools
Chapter 8
Teresa Flateby
The development of the Cognitive Level and Quality of Writing Assessment online system is described in this chapter. Beginning with needs identified... Sample PDF
Effects of Assessment Results on a Writing and Thinking Rubric
Chapter 9
Barbara D’Angelo, Barry Maid
Outcomes-based assessment provides data for programs to demonstrate student learning as a result of their enrollment in the program and to assess... Sample PDF
Assessing Outcomes in a Technical Communication Capstone
Chapter 10
Sonya Borton, Alanna Frost, Kate Warrington
As Jacqueline Jones Royster articulated at the 2006 Conference on College Composition and Communication, English departments are already assessing... Sample PDF
Assessing the Composition Program on Our Own Terms
Chapter 11
Joan Aitken
This chapter uses a case study to exemplify one approach to assessment of three instructional delivery formats: (a) online, (b) distance, satellite... Sample PDF
A Case Study of Instructional Delivery Formats
Chapter 12
Victor W. Brunsden
The author present a case-study of a classroom technique that allows assessment and some remediation of several shortcomings of college student... Sample PDF
Inverting the Remedial Mathematics Classroom with Alternative Assessment
Chapter 13
David A. Eubanks
This chapter describes Coker College’s subjective performance assessment program to rate student thinking and communication skills. It uses a... Sample PDF
A Case Study of Authentic Assessment
Chapter 14
P. Tokyo Kang, David Gugin
This chapter reports an outcomes assessment study conducted at the University of Guam. The assessment project was conducted during the 2006-07 and... Sample PDF
Outcomes Assessment in Japanese Language Instruction
Chapter 15
Barika Barboza, Frances Singh
This chapter describes an outcomes assessment study completed in a basic composition course at a small urban open admissions community college. The... Sample PDF
Assessing the Effectiveness of a Basic Writing Course
Chapter 16
Lorraine Gilpin, Yasar Bodur, Kathleen Crawford
Peer assessment holds tremendous potential to positively impact the development of preservice teachers. The purpose of this chapter is to describe... Sample PDF
Peer Assessment for Development of Preservice Teachers
Chapter 17
Charlotte Brammer, Rhonda Parker
In 2002, Samford University began working on a long-term learning assessment plan designed to evaluate its undergraduates’ competencies in written... Sample PDF
Workshops and E-Portfolios as Transformational Assessment
Chapter 18
Daniel F. Chambliss
This chapter describes how the trend favoring assessment initiatives of a system-wide scope such as program review and collegiate learning... Sample PDF
A Neglected Necessity in Liberal Arts Assessment: The Student as the Unit of Analysis
Chapter 19
Deirdre Pettipiece, Timothy Ray, Justin Everett
Perhaps due to its applicability as a performance of skill sets in virtually all disciplines, writing as a mechanism for measuring student success... Sample PDF
Redefining Writing Reality Multi-Modal Writing and Assessment
Chapter 20
Sean A. McKitrick
This chapter introduces methods that can be used to engage faculty in the assessment process, working within a shared governance structure in... Sample PDF
Engaging Faculty as a Strategic Choice in Assessment
Chapter 21
Steven M. Culver, Ray VanDyke
There is much in the assessment literature about the necessity of developing a culture of assessment and mandates from accrediting bodies include... Sample PDF
Developing a Receptive and Faculty-Focused Environment for Assessment
Chapter 22
John Wittman
This chapter argues that as primary stakeholders in writing program assessment, students and instructors need to be included proactively in... Sample PDF
New Collaborations for Writing Program Assessment
Chapter 23
Mya Poe
The study of racial-ethnic group differences on educational tests has yielded a substantial body of research internationally in the last decade. In... Sample PDF
Reporting Race and Ethnicity in International Assessment
Chapter 24
Joan Hawthorne, Tatyana Dumova, April Bradley, Daphne Pederson
In this chapter the authors describe a method developed to assess the outcome of a “cultural familiarity” general education goal. Challenges in... Sample PDF
Method Development for Assessing a Diversity Goal
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