Iowa State University • Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching •
Iowa State University

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Evaluating creativity

Evaluating creativity can be difficult: is one evaluating process or product? Achievement or effort? Evaluating creative effort can also be more time-consuming than other forms of assessment. Researchers have developed many specific tools for assessment. This page presents only an overview of the topic.

Prior to any kind of evaluation is the necessity for effective design of the course or assignment. If the learning goal is simply to encourage creativity, then non-graded assignments or assignment worth a small percentage of the course grade may be preferable. Open-ended assignments, in which students can develop ideas in a variety of ways, are difficult to evaluate but can give students room to think and create. The POD_IDEA Center offers ideas on incorporating creative thinking in assignments. If a creative project or effort is a major part of the course work, then multiple opportunities for formative, or work-in-progress, assessment may be desired. Student creativity can also be enhanced by well-designed assignments which can be evaluated in traditional ways.

Self-evaluation can be an effective means of assessing creativity, at least in the formative stages. Students can be asked to assess their motivation, which is essential for creative thinking, their contributions to a group, and their thought processes, as well as their completed projects. Peers can also effective evaluate their classmates' creativity, particularly when they receive specific instructions, such as a rubric, on how and what they are to evaluate. Whether students' creativity has increased over time may be measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking.