Adobe Education
Educators and Professional Development Specialists

Assessing Creativity

What is your opinion on assessing creativity? Is it your experience that assessment can actually foster creativity?

This discussion post is part of the Adobe Education Exchange Professional Development WorkshopsCreativity in Today’s Classrooms: Assessing Creativity in Today’s Classrooms

4 / 5 • 24 Ratings

Comments (105)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Michael Reilly

Posted on 1/23/17 5:32:27 PM Permalink

I agree with Karin...Rubric are a must in my mind...It does help foster the students an initial spark.​

karin h

Posted on 7/26/16 12:19:06 PM Permalink

With project tasks/assessments, I include a rubric for the student to be able to see what I expect. I also include guidelines for class time management and creativity/extra effort.

Caleb Clark

Posted on 8/26/15 7:33:37 PM Permalink

If my art students do not have a frame of reference that tells them where they need to grow creatively then they are wandering aimlessly like zombies. I have a variety of rubric based assessments that gauge their work on elements or principals of art. This shows them which areas of study they can focus on to improve their skill set the most in comparison to a rubric guide which is provided by me. I also have them complete self assessments. The self assessments are a one page critical analysis of their last artwork. This is an amazing tool! Not only do I see what they think about the last project they worked on, but it gives me a real scale of whom is confident and who is not. Some of my lacking students rate themselves very confidently while very strong students rate themselves low. This is a mild percentage, but it gives me a median and offsets that with the knowledge I need to work with students on their self confidence where it is lacking. A nifty discovery I found last year! The final bit of assessing we do is often written and verbal description and discussion. The writing works better at some schools and the verbal better in others. I still have all students do both.


Ursula Cable

Posted on 8/25/15 8:15:00 AM Permalink

When students express themselves creatively they are putting something of themselves into the finished product. For this reason there is a feeling of insecurity in receiving feedback. I like the idea of addressing this in terms of 'engagement'. I think students know when something is engaging and are far more likely to respond positively to this than to a number. It also encourages them to take a risk in their creation as most recognise that work that is really engaging occurs outside of their comfort zone.

Karl VonSchonfeldt

Posted on 6/19/15 5:03:01 PM Permalink

It is very interesting to me to see all of the higher-level educators explain how and why they assess creativity. As a 5th grade teacher, I tend to see 1 or 2 super creative students that the others tend to latch onto. Too many of my students are worried that they cannot create something "good" so they copy another student that does "good" creative work. I try to encourage my students to worry about self-improvement and not about being as good at something as their neighbor.

Irene Visser

Posted on 6/18/15 11:44:11 AM Permalink

I teach graphic design at the university level and have found the most effective way of delivering feedback, especially in the case of assessment for creativity, is to return the marked assignment in face to face consultations with the students during class time. I spend approximately 10 minutes with each student. In this time we discuss the rubric and written comments from the completed task and talk about how it can be used towards the next assignment. As a result, students understand the feedback much better and there is a clear progression of quality of work. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the students and to explain the feedback and they have a chance to discuss their ideas when they have my full attention.

Susan Mango Curtis

Posted on 5/3/15 11:40:08 PM Permalink

I teach a visual journalism course for undergraduate and graduate students, for each assignment students are required to hand in a design philosophy. The idea is to give the student the opportunity to self assess the learning experience. Therefore, it is extremely important that visual journalism students can intellectually elaborate on their creative work in order for another's to grasp a clear understanding what they’re trying to accomplish. This is called “defending” your work.

You’ll need to “defend” your work with regards to such things as the following: content; graphics; themes; color palette; typography; symbolism; placement; tone of voice, and especially news judgment.



Project Title:

1. Description:

2. Targeted Audience:

3. Research: How did you go about researching the information?

4. Strategy: What path did you take to come up with this idea?

5. What challenges you face in completing this project?

6. How did you overcome these challenges?

7. Effectiveness:

8. What alternators did you consider early on?

9. Why did you choose a particular typeface or colors for this project?

10. Compared to the last project worked on, what was something new you try this time?

11. What ideas or things did you use for inspiration?

12. What did you learn from doing this project?

Shelley Ortner

Posted on 4/28/15 9:09:13 PM Permalink

As a visual arts teacher, assessment for creativity is vital. Fine art students must learn how cliche and trite ideas are overlooked compared to genuine self expression. Also vital in both fine and professional arts is the ability to create while not "borrowing" images from other artists.

Brett Kent

Posted on 4/14/15 12:31:29 AM Permalink

Assessment for creativity is important for the intrinsic motivation of students. Teaching techniques such as 'project based learning' allow assessment checkpoints and frameworks that keep the students both within a design brief but also encourage creativity and problem solving within that design. However assessment 'of' creativity is about as easy to handle as a wheelbarrow full of frogs...

Amanda Perko

Posted on 3/5/15 5:18:08 PM Permalink

As a music teacher, assessment for creativity is a must. If a safe classroom environment is established, I feel that students are more apt to take creative risks. I have found through project assessments and performance assessments, that the students who normally over-achieve continue to do so, and those that just go through the motions tend to also do so UNLESS they find a connection to the instrument or project in question. Every project we do in the music classroom also is layered with many benchmarks so that students are getting feedback on their creative choices prior to the assessment/performance grade. I find that that helps a lot.

Christine Leonzo

Posted on 3/2/15 2:52:42 PM Permalink

The immediate, constructive, specific feedback that is inherent to formative assessment provides students with the information they need to become creative thinkers. What takes a piece of writing from proficient to exceptional is usually its creativity and originality. If we aren't showing students what that looks like or how to get there, they won't know how. Assessing creativity for the purpose of feedback and growth versus a grade is a needed to tool to developing creativity in students.

Walter Glogowski

Posted on 2/24/15 7:33:30 PM Permalink

I think creativity should be assessed. Helping students learn to be creative and helping them express their creativity should be part of practically every curriculum. Certainly students can be creative in the arts, but students can also be creative in English Language, Mathematics, Science -- there's no limit. I think by the time students reach ninth grade in high school unfortunately creativity has been "beaten" out of them by numerous assessments that do not value creativity.

Janet Wentum

Posted on 2/23/15 8:17:00 AM Permalink

I've always had some difficulty assessing creativity. Let's just say I did it ALL wrong. Now, I know that I've to be constantly assessing students' creative work instead of waiting to the end to provide feedback; unless it's a project that takes few minutes. In addition, I shouldn't be afraid to give feedback because I'll "squash" their creativity. Although constructive feedback involves some level of judgement of the student's work, it must be done to create and "I get it"sense of understanding in student. So, instead of merely saying "I don't like your work", assessment must help students to critically examine their work to see how they can improve upon it.

Lacy Ryan

Posted on 2/5/15 6:42:44 PM Permalink

As an art teacher I do assess for creativity, and often. If I give an assignment, and a student is able to pull from many areas of their experiences and put that into one, new, original work, they have shown creativity. If, however, they pull from one source and copy, or nearly copy that, they have not demonstrated creative thinking. Yes, if we are working on a photorealistic drawing in art, there is less room for grading for creativity, but more often than not, grading for creativity is important.

Even writing a research paper calls for creativity. If you do your research and have 10-20 sources cited, and you pull information from all those sources and put it together in a new and useful way, you have demonstrated creative thinking. We take everything we know, think and have experienced, put it through a sieve and filter out those things that are useful based on our current specifications or need.

Robert G West

Posted on 2/2/15 7:00:38 AM Permalink

It seems like much of the evaluation of creativity will be judged by effort, not necessarily outcome. One article suggests that rating how engaging a project is to others is a way of evaluating creativity. I don't think that is is so. I fell asleep 10 minutes into a performance at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Why? I have no connection with or interest in ballet. I'm sure that it was quite good, but I was not at all engaged. It seems that many of our great artists were unappreciated in their time- they weren't connecting or engaging. I don't see engagement as a good evaluative factor.

Dorothy Yu

Posted on 1/22/15 6:13:03 AM Permalink

Students recognize feeling awkward initially and accept that it is all right to feel that way. When they share their final production with one another, they make judgement on the level of creativity among them.

Is it surprising?
May be I can try that in future?

By reviewing other students' work it may help to consolidate the conceptual knowledge.

Lori Stammer

Posted on 1/10/15 1:00:43 AM Permalink

I believe creativity is the hardest thing to assess. Being a non creative person myself, I can feel a student's pain when they are assessed and they know there is no way they can succeed. My opinion is that it has to be very individualized. I have students that are afraid to think outside the box and it takes a lot of reassurance from me that it is ok. I also have some that are very creative, but not in a good sense. Almost warp like thinking. So learn the students, their level of comfort and be willing to guide them to be creative. Then assess based on what they did, not against what others can do.

Michelle Mondragon

Posted on 12/31/14 10:12:39 PM Permalink

Assessment FOR creativity is more productive than using a rubric just for grading. It can be more open and help the student recognize their strengths and not concentrate just on what they didn’t do as well. Done correctly it can build their confidence while still guiding them towards improvement.

cathy De Alba-Velasquez

Posted on 12/7/14 7:42:07 PM Permalink

Things that should be considered when assessing creativity should be relevancy, thinking outside the box to problem solve, and mastery of taught concepts.

Sue Marron

Posted on 12/5/14 5:46:33 AM Permalink

When assessing creativity I feel that formative assessments are of the utmost importance. I recently had students do a project on a long-term goal of theirs on an app using the iPad. If students follow the simple requirements, and they put their ideas and goals into the project, then they should earn a passing grade such as an A. All my students loved this activity as they were connected to the assignment and they all did a fantastic job since they were intrinsically motivated to complete the assignment.

Mel Edwards

Posted on 11/19/14 11:08:45 PM Permalink

Assessing creativity should be done for all the normal reasons: reflection, beginnings, middle and exemplary-level recognition and can be formal or informal. Begin with informal, teach the lingo of what is being sought, scaffold and practice and then let them take flight. Rubrics that are well thought out are great for final stages.

Karina Hurtado

Posted on 11/13/14 6:50:34 AM Permalink

Assessing creativity could be difficult at first, but it allows the children to express themselves freely and be able to not feel judged. They get to do their own way of doing things and show it in their own perspective.

Jessica Gauci

Posted on 11/5/14 10:51:38 AM Permalink

I find it really difficult to assess creativity. Having to mark / grade / give a number to the quality of my student's work doesn't sit well with me. I don't like having to rank them in an order because they all have something great and valuable to present. Assessment and grading doesn't allow for individual student's to achieve their individual best because we are always comparing them to the rest of the class. I say get rid of grading and focus more on having students achieve important creative skills through project based learning.

Pauli Horgan

Posted on 9/22/14 10:21:45 PM Permalink

Great that assessing creativity allows the opportunity to look from many different perspectives.

Yone Santos

Posted on 9/19/14 3:26:23 PM Permalink

The moment we understand assessment as ‘assessing for’, as Alane Starko said, we
realize it’s our duty, as teachers, to assess for their creativity. It’s a way of helping students ‘realize where
they are’ and ‘see that they can go further’.

Jason Webb

Posted on 9/17/14 1:30:01 PM Permalink

Assessing FOR creative not assessing OF creativity is a great way of thinking of it. If educators truly want students to be intrinsic learners, we need to give students the flexibility to be creative and motivated in their own way and we need to encourage every aspect of creativity in a students work. Sometimes the content might not be correct, but the way the student presented their ideas fosters their want or desire to learn, and educators need to continue to assess that and develop it.

Jessica Gauci

Posted on 11/13/14 7:55:23 PM Permalink

This is a great reply.. sums it up perfectly. Thank you!

tannizia anthony

Posted on 8/28/14 4:09:30 PM Permalink

Assessment can foster creativity since it help students understand that nothing is really constant in our life-cycle. It shows where we are, where we came from and where we intend to be. This help students to be more original which will result in them being more creative.

Barbara Swanner

Posted on 8/27/14 6:52:31 PM Permalink

I do heartily believe in assessing creativity, but it is important that my students understand that any assessment is of the moment - that we live in a world of change, so all evaluation is based on known information at the time of the assessment. I use critiques as a method of assessment, sometimes the students even fill out self assessment rubrics, but these critiques have helped all my students create better work, since they are done from a positive standpoint, there is never anything negatively said about any work.

Katherine Yamashita

Posted on 8/22/14 2:17:40 AM Permalink

I think that assessment and evaluation for that matter, must be seen by both the teacher and the student as a marker or a sign post on a continuum. It indicates where we have come from, where we want to be and how far we have come on our journey to a goal. Until the whole of assessment is seen as a taking stock so that more can happen - more fun, more accomplishment, more expression, more mastery ... we are still just playing to the standards piper.

When assessment is seen as a way to orient ourselves on an adventure, and maybe sometimes the goal is just exploring, and sometimes it is very precise and focused, I don't think it is as useful a tool as it should be.

When considered in this light, the criteria being assessed must not just look at skills and knowledge, but should also show evidence of the developmental, experimental, investigative and 'trial and error' path that leads one to any particular product.

A rubric that checks for this would look for items like:
evidence of brainstorming or think-tanking a number of possible paths - a sense of play (doodles, mind maps, thumbnails, notes)
research on on what has been done before - (what worked and what did not and why?)
A whole series of what if scenarios ( sometimes they can be written on cue cards and stored in case they can be acted on later)
some decisions about steps to take to solve the problem (a plan of action)
trials or the creation of prototypes (the actual doing, making, writing, creating)
the testing and revision of the trials and prototypes ( analysis, sharing, presentation)
the analysis of product for further innovation. (next steps)

The product can be a story, a service or a thing -
Ok, I am just rambling now.

Ryan Patton

Posted on 8/13/14 6:10:41 PM Permalink

It is very important to assess the creative cycle. It can offer all of the guiding feedback and intrinsic motivation that we have seen. In addition, from my perspective it can also add an element of accountability and prevent scope creep through the development cycle. A student on a creative project can lose their original focus and could end up on a pathway of perpetual nothingness. Assessing in the formative can keep them on track and finish the project that will explode their pride and confidence.

Diana Bidulescu

Posted on 8/11/14 2:43:23 AM Permalink

The right way to asses can foster creativity, because it can stimulate & guide the learner to take a different thinking path in solving problems, and exploring concepts. When asked to express the process of their thinking, the learners themselves become aware of their reason, and the questions prompt a deeper self evaluation, better self understanding, and more in-depth exploration in the following projects.

Derek Cooper

Posted on 7/29/14 1:14:18 PM Permalink

I believe it can. As per the article, opening learners up to a different perspective and way of thinking can and has inspired creativity, at least for me it has. I think this is great for teachers who have a technology focus that is centered around creativity.

Benjamin Quansah

Posted on 7/16/14 11:00:18 AM Permalink

Assessment can actually foster creativity as I uphold communication and relationships as key elements. More so my reflection on lesson content and instruction to ensure inclusion of guidance for student generated original ideas in presentations.

This then makes assessing creativity supportive of student learning also increasing student competence through formative assessment and feedback.

Finally, by assessing the application of ideas in original scenarios fosters creativity.

deston tanner

Posted on 7/14/14 3:26:13 AM Permalink

Thanks for the whole assessment process.

Frank Vandenburg

Posted on 7/13/14 5:01:51 AM Permalink

I find that Starko has put into clear, concise words what I've been trying to practice in terms of creating and delivering assessments that spark creativity with learners. Her thoughts on choice in assessment, as well as the importance of formative assessments, makes it clear how these approaches provide a more supportive learning environment and permit a broader group of learners to succeed.

Judi Geistlinger

Posted on 7/7/14 9:37:01 PM Permalink

Creativity is really important for all parts of education, but definitions of creativity can be limiting, and not creative. I really like the point about a rubric; without a rubric, grading becomes completely subjective and results are sometimes based on what the instructor deems interesting or to their tastes. A good rubric would be beneficial to all of us who have to deliver grades at the end.

Tyler Brandt

Posted on 7/7/14 8:35:19 PM Permalink

Creativity is really important for education. Being able to remember facts and information is important, but I think creativity is a much more valuable quality for students to develop.

Chris Lorenz

Posted on 6/30/14 3:49:23 AM Permalink

I agree that for many teachers creating a rubric for creativity is not something easy to do. I have created and have seen many rubrics, which are solely used for grading, and yes there is a place for this. However in the area of creativity I feel rubrics would be an excellent tool as long as they are used as guides and feedback for students. This may seem like a waste of time, but I feel this would be more supportive and conducive to help students be more willing to take chances in their creative process.

Naomi Cornette

Posted on 6/12/14 12:39:07 AM Permalink

Creativity can definitely be assessed and should be! Students have to develop their creativity and if they aren't given the chance to practice creativity they won't develop that skill.

Chris Lorenz

Posted on 6/30/14 3:52:15 AM Permalink

I agree with you. Students have to be given the opportunity to be creative. A rubric is nothing more than a guide for students to try and receive feedback so the creative process can continue and grow.

Tony Carland

Posted on 7/5/14 1:13:10 PM Permalink

If there are perhaps intrinsic 'rewards' built into course design, and the rubric is a true transparent guide, I feel the learner will be somewhat more self motivated and retain an investigative approach to the work longer.

Robert Leneway

Posted on 4/14/15 7:35:23 PM Permalink

One of my favorite quotes about creativity and teaching is this one. "At its core, creativity is about having a new idea put into action. Another way to think of creativity is that it means solving problems in a unique way. Thus, teaching creativity can be thought of as teaching children to problem-solve (outside the box). Not according to a set formula, but by applying knowledge they have in a new way" (Ferlazzo, 2012)

Jean Harper

Posted on 3/23/14 8:07:59 PM Permalink

My rubrics always contain an assessment of creativity and begin early in the year with discussions about audience, what the message conveys, what would draw a viewer in if they saw all the the pieces from that assignment hanging in the hallway. I also stop during projects and encourage students to give positive critiques of work in progress. I think that helps kids work to take the standards beyond the expected and toward the creative. The final assessment often includes a reflection or type of artist statement about the work.

Jenny Izquierdo

Posted on 3/4/14 2:51:41 AM Permalink

In my classroom students are always encourage to create variations of the tutorials presented in class. Although the steps and tools remain the same, the final result should never mimic that of the example. They are always to incorporate personal elements in their work. The final outcome should reflect who they are as artists as well as showcase their understanding of the class material.

I do agree with Elizabeth Jendek in regards to pointing out their growth towards the end of the year so that they can feel proud of their achievements.

Elizabeth Jendek

Posted on 2/21/14 1:33:46 PM Permalink


Part of my many assessments is to have the students write a reflection about their work. I ask them to tell me about their creative process through the assignment and how they problem-solved along the way. I learn a great deal about how my students think by reading these. From assignment to assignment I see a lot of development and added depth to their creative thinking. In addition to these questions, students must provide a title for their work and tell me how the title specifically applies to their work. I have had some great metaphors coming out of my kids! As the year progresses, I usually pull up their first reflections and point out how much they have grown and it is always a great conversation. How they view the world and themselves develops enormously. For me as an educator, I also gain much more insight to the way my students think and their processes in what they do. The last and final question of the reflection asks them to describe the elements and principles they used backed up by specific examples.

On the topic of critiquing students, I give a lot of feedback as my high school students create. They are always told that they have many things to offer but part of my job is to get them to the next level so their ability to communicate their ideas becomes more clear. They know any pointers are to assist them are to further them along. I think the more dialogue we have in class regarding the "why" of things the better. I find they are more willing to take risks this way.

Chris Lorenz

Posted on 6/30/14 3:58:24 AM Permalink

What a great tool for you to use at the end of their reflections. Making them back up what they have reflected on. It reminds me of common core.

One of my last questions for my students when review our videos we created is “Now that you have published your video, what would you have liked to have done different?” It is amazing the answers I get and to see them use their own suggestions in our next video or make suggestions to other students.

Rene Gonzales

Posted on 1/4/14 10:48:35 PM Permalink

Many students are sensitive to comments on their work and exposing their errors may bring shame, embarrassment and disappointment. Very young students and experienced learners might be at less risk, either because they haven’t experienced criticism or because they realise that there is a positive side to it.

Based on the above and before working with the assumption that learners understand the meaning of “constructive criticism,” it might be useful to discuss it with the students. Analyse pros and cons and ask if they prefer anonymity when it comes to share their work and the criticism with others.

Starting the exercise with an agreed mind set may improve the gain that may come from learning from achievements and mistakes of students and their peers.

Sylvia Hernandez

Posted on 1/4/14 4:32:50 PM Permalink

Assessing creativity involve itself creativity. We have a lot of ways for evaluating the creativity but it has to be a fair way. its like assessing for learning. It is very important to give the feedback on time. So the students can feel that they are in progress.

ann carter

Posted on 1/1/14 3:08:45 AM Permalink

I use rubrics to grade but I still find it difficult to assess a student's creativity. Feedback is such an important part of the learning process - it helps them own what they are learning. I try to separate the feedback from the assessment. It was interesting to hear that just giving comments had more impact on learning than the combination of grades and comments.

Wanda ClarkeMorin

Posted on 12/16/13 8:43:25 PM Permalink

I teach at an art school..and the points presented in both youTube's validate the way I, and many of my peers, presently feel and apply feedback...but it is always great to hear the information presented in another voice.

Michael Ross

Posted on 12/14/13 3:16:03 PM Permalink

I think creativity should be assessed without harm to the student. The research findings posed no surprise to me as I felt disappointed that our education systems are just now paying attention to what should have been adopted long ago. Assessment shouldn't prevent learning (as is the case with many final exams) it should be crafted to encourage it without conditions.

Petra Perz

Posted on 12/12/13 7:14:05 PM Permalink

It's been amazing to hear Dylan Wiliam say how much better is giving good feedbck than anything else.For me, assessing should be far from classifying and nearer to encouraging to go on. Praising and giving options are the way to go.

marianne kelley

Posted on 12/8/13 6:12:21 PM Permalink

My recent responsibility from administration is to decide if we should grade students in art, music, and gym and if so, what do we grade and to what extent? Do we give pass/fail grades? Do we just provide comments? I would LOVE to hear feedback from you!

susan leequee

Posted on 12/4/13 4:17:54 PM Permalink

"Don't waste time with things/projects/assignments that won't help a student's learning" I think this is good advice for me, after watching the Dylan Williams video. Sometimes in an effort to come up with "creative" assignments you lose focus and lose the ability to be able to grade and assess the project. I am comfortable knowing that always striving to improve as an educator comes with the job, no one shot approach is applicable. We should always strive to improve our assessment and providing feedback.

Jody Chapel

Posted on 7/20/14 5:35:23 PM Permalink

Can someone tell me where this Dylan Williams video is? I have been going through the workshop series carefully but did not see this.


Jan Lay

Posted on 12/4/13 3:29:02 PM Permalink

In my class, all homework is posted onto a blog. In class, all of the student's get to see what their peers are doing an we discuss the positive and negative aspects of each submission. In many cases, the student's work might be considered "inferior" but that is because they are learning how to use the Creative Suite tools and only practice can make for a better looking result. I use a rubric for each assignment, although I don't use one for grading except for on major projects. I think I could improve my method of delivering feedback and I'm sure I will go back and listen to the video again.

Jessie Barnes Jr.

Posted on 12/4/13 2:51:12 AM Permalink

I believe that Assessing Creativity is a more constructive way of grading a student on his or her work. I think a student that would receive a comment on their work would either try to make it better or would be excited to continue on with good work. A student that receive a grade that either not passing or not high enough will feel that they are not good enough or would be concentrating on getting a better grade rather than getting better in the subject.

Veronique FournierWynne

Posted on 12/2/13 4:24:54 PM Permalink

I truly believe that assessment can foster creativity, especially constructive criticism can open the mind to new ideas. As Sir Ken Robinson explained in his video, each one of us is but part of a giant puzzle and without others we are not able to grow in creativity. Humans are meant to be together and work in cooperation in order to advance in everything.

Mavis McLean

Posted on 12/2/13 4:43:01 AM Permalink

I feel that formative assessment can be highly effective. It is always good to give comments along with the grade so that students will know what areas of improvement to concentrate on. For projects in class, I use a rubric for grading which gives feedback due to the nature of the assessment tool. I also leave space for comments. I always add at least one comment to the student's work so that they know I have paid close attention to the work that they have done.

Jennifer Parranto

Posted on 12/1/13 9:37:30 PM Permalink

I teach art at the high school level. I use a rubric to score different areas of learning and production. I feel that offers more opportunities for success in the art room. My biggest problem is when it comes to comments on their art. I always point out something good even if it is only for effort. But when it comes to pointing out something that could be done better, I find it difficult coming up with a comment that doesn't seem harsh or picky. After all the student could have spent an incredible amount of time on a certain part of the composition and still not pull it off.

Rosemary Ratajczyk

Posted on 12/1/13 8:18:32 PM Permalink

Assessing creativity is a difficult task because of the subjectivity of art assessment. Creativity can be somewhat assessed through the use of a rubric where a new solution to a problem is part of the criteria. Criteria that have as their achievement goal can encourage students to achieve a creative response to the problem. Before you can be creative you need to learn basic structure of art and then apply that knowledge to creative solutions.

Delma Cisneros

Posted on 12/1/13 5:08:17 PM Permalink

I found it interesting that the study revealed that providing comments and a grade were not as effective as just using comments.

Brenda Soto-Martinez

Posted on 12/1/13 4:22:48 AM Permalink

I teach audio in an University and creativity is part of student projects they must develop audio productions that involves sound design, voice recording and mixing. They are free to create their own scripts and bring it to life, but they also must met technical skills. I always provide feedback and involve students in discussion as a group. In their individual feedback I show them what they need to improve to make their production extraordinary (if any improved is needed). In my case, the class encourage creativity for students and new assessment strategies for me as instructor.

Wanda ClarkeMorin

Posted on 12/16/13 8:51:11 PM Permalink

Yes, I agree...there are always technical skills that can be measured....and creativity encouraged..which is always where I have the biggest trouble assessing a grade..a student's aesthetics may not be that of my own, but approached from a very creative vision.

Donna Dancer

Posted on 11/30/13 10:26:28 PM Permalink

Formative assessment can foster creativity, depending upon the methods used to assess. Positive and collaborative formative assessments could be in the form of rubrics, portfolios, presentations, etc. Learning through these types of assessments are allowing the learner to learn in the periphery and in the active role, which fosters creativity. A great deal of this course is learning in this way. The downfall is when students participate and their participation is not recognized, but others are spotlighted, this can have a negative affect on the learners not highlighted, depending upon the learner. In order to avoid this negative possibility, it may be that works are chosen and not emphasized they were chosen as good projects, but they were simply chosen to highlight their qualities, since the class consists of individuals from all backgrounds. It's a simple play of words and access to what is quality, and participation, which can foster creative learning for the majority.

Mark Wilkinson

Posted on 11/29/13 10:01:20 AM Permalink

Can Assessment be subjective? No. Marking must be objective rather than subjective in relation to a mark scheme. Assessors must interpret a candidates work accurately to ensure that it is marked fairly. The mark scheme determines what is being assessed so it is the mark scheme that needs to recognise creativity as a criteria. The problem is what is creativity and how do measure it? You can use cognitive strategies when marking and these entail human judgement but they can’t be subjective. It’s that easy!

Lois Stauffer

Posted on 11/27/13 9:09:27 PM Permalink

I believe that assessment can guide creativity. Since it is feedback we are considering the "student" has already submitted their original idea/assignment and assessment from teacher and peers can help the individual make their original submission/assignment better with the help of everyone who gave them feedback.

Imelda Hernández

Posted on 11/26/13 2:23:39 PM Permalink

Evaluating creativity is one of the most difficult processes that takes a teacher. What can we do to avoid subjectively evaluate?
Some points can be: originality, communication, creativity, synthesis, expression, visual impact, among others.

Robin Ellis

Posted on 11/26/13 4:14:23 AM Permalink

I think students benefit greatly from opportunities to share their learning. Sometimes it is better received web a peer points out areast that might be viewed from another point of view or altered differently. A critique is a valuable tool that benefits the learner, and encourages them to be brave, and share their work, and comments with one another.

It can also be a motivational tool when ideas and possibilities are further explored when comments are shared, and inspiration flows.

James Stauffer

Posted on 11/26/13 4:04:33 AM Permalink

Formative assessment certainly allows learners to change their approach or practice. It can improve outcomes if learners are able to understand the assessment and make appropriate changes.

But creativity, taking an unorthodox or original approach, is something learners have been conditioned to avoid - "Do it the right way! Do it like I showed you!" Fortunate those who were encouraged to explore and have had their exploration validated instead of corrected.

Can formative feedback foster creativity in those who come from an educational culture that used corporal punishment to discourage wrong answers? I keep trying. I suspect though, that exposure to a wide range of ideas may promote creativity more effectively than feedback alone.

cate fallon

Posted on 11/26/13 3:35:42 AM Permalink

I teach at a University and the students really seem to want verbal feedback and interaction with their teacher. They like to immediately understand the comments on their work and how they can improve. We also use time in class for them to comment directly to each other in the classroom which many of them really enjoy. This year, I tried to focus on the comment/response process. As a result I can see general progress in the class and really great progress in several of the individual students. Its not always been like this, but I hope I can get students in future semesters to respond as well to the comment system for their weekly feedback.

penny stewart

Posted on 11/26/13 2:34:39 AM Permalink

Feedback and assessment can foster brainstorming, ideas and encourage reaching beyond linear thought. Creativity thrives on this sharing, learning from others, playing and exploring.

Kim Sandford

Posted on 11/25/13 11:10:21 PM Permalink

I believe this is one of the toughest areas that I face in my high school teaching field - assessments. High schools - administrators, parents, and students are all very grade driven. I explain to my students that our class never has right/wrong answers. With every project, I include a rubric for the student to be able to see what I expect, but I always include points for "class time management" and "creativity/extra effort." The idea behind those additions to the rubric are so students will be more motivated to stay on task and to go above the minimum requirements in order to receive a better grade. Some students (especially the students that are competing for class rank) are so much inside the box thinkers, they want me to tell them exactly what they need to do to get the best grade possible. How do you explain that you want them to use their own creativity? I would love to get away from simple grades and be able to use more formative assessment, but I just haven't figured out how to find that balance.

Lana Powers

Posted on 6/10/14 3:51:44 PM Permalink

I agree! Getting any type of student outside of their box is extremely difficult. I was never comfortable 'grading' creativity because I am not an "Art Teacher". I have begun to see that as a misconception and use the same elements as you on my rubrics. Most of my students ask me to sit with them and question them on their creative work - some are really looking for me to tell them what to do, but I approach it as a question session with that student for them to explain to me their process and why they are doing what they are doing. I love seeing the lightbulb when they discover answers or ideas on their own. I have moved to mini projects for formative assessment only and then larger, combined elements, projects for summative assessment.

Kimberley Martin

Posted on 11/25/13 11:01:30 PM Permalink

This is an interesting discussion topic. I think that assessment (formative feedback) can inspire a student to reach deeper within themselves and to challenge themselves to think more creatively. Even more importantly, it could help them learn to recognize creativity in themselves, particularly if they were not consciously self-aware that they can (and do) exhibit this human characteristic we all share.

Talent, on the other hand, I think varies from person to person and/or from medium to medium.

Feedback that includes suggestions and advice, and uses the well-known "sandwich" approach, is beneficial to all students' creativity.

The first video really surprised me to learn that the scoring and feedback together wasn't the most effective approach. College students are so grade-oriented, with tuition reimbursement, honor rolls, etc. that I always assumed it was important to them and that when reviewing their scores they would also read the feedback comments as well. My eyes are now opened! The comments alone are what really engages them and gets their attention. I just don't know (yet) how to fit that approach into an academic environment where the scores are required.

cassandra knight

Posted on 11/25/13 8:52:29 PM Permalink

When we teach creativity students need to be guided through the technical process and then left to be 'creative'. Constructive feedback in a positive manner is essential - then suggestions made after in terms of the direction they may take their results into.

Rosemary Ratajczyk

Posted on 12/1/13 8:22:56 PM Permalink


I agree with you. Students need some technical instruction before they can be creative. Soe students find it difficult to be creative without structure or a prompt.

Arlene Bergslien

Posted on 12/8/13 9:54:36 PM Permalink

excellent point. As the student is guided through the technical aspects the creative student can find new ways of expression. They shut down if they don't hear how they can improve on what they are going after (Posstive reinforcement) I know of kids being told they weren't good at art or whatever and shouldn't do it. Not a good thing. Give a creativity student the tools and guide them along.

John Frick

Posted on 11/25/13 7:51:22 PM Permalink

I feel we as teachers walk a fine line with assessing creativity. You can evaluate how effectively a student uses the tools in Photoshop but the individual's creative ability that seems to be a good deal harder.

Robyn Hart

Posted on 11/25/13 5:12:59 PM Permalink

I think creative development is best driven by constructive feedback, not just from a teacher but also from your peers. Students should be taught how to do critiques, like the ones done in Art Colleges. I think all schools at every level should introduce this style of thinking to students. It not only fuels education but I believe students would take more interest and ownership of their work and the work of their peers.

Suzanne OConnor

Posted on 11/25/13 6:27:22 AM Permalink

Grading seems to have to happen, but I agree that comments are the most valuable for our students in assessments. I find these courses are great at providing feedback but I don't like the grading system. Just comments would be great.

Keyasha Johnson

Posted on 11/25/13 6:14:07 AM Permalink

Creative development can be guided using formative feedback. Within in digital media, the bottom line message is some form of communication or the delivery of a message (to inform, educate, advertise, provoke action, etc). Along with the whether or not guidelines were followed, design rules executed well or not, and if the message was communicated correctly are all areas that formative assessment can address.

Jean Discorfano

Posted on 11/24/13 5:39:48 PM Permalink

I understand that teachers have a certain curriculum to follow. Formative assessment is what you need to assess creativity. When you have created something the last thing you want to hear is “how awful, what a piece of junk, no good!” If a student is given a creative project to do and completes it they should be (1), given the credit for completing it, (2), if it is not up to standards comment on how they may improve it, (3) communicate with other students on how they may improve it, too. Be kind with feedback but, be able to give ideas on how to improve a project.


Posted on 11/24/13 2:00:06 PM Permalink

All projects must have an assessment , not only for credit but also to assess the achievements of the process and the end result. I also think the creative development can be evaluated. With my students I usually do that they can assessed through a self-assessment record and can make a feedback with peers to see the progress achieved in their own creative work.

Linda Ehley

Posted on 11/24/13 12:50:24 PM Permalink

I agree that creativity can be assessed. To me the central point is to create assignments, projects, etc. that can be accomplished in a variety of ways -- that fosters creativity in students because there is not just one right way to complete the work. I teach at an ability based -- assessment oriented institution that does not have grades. Everything is assessed in reference to abilities and criteria. With good criteria, the students, and myself can focus on the learning. Also critical to this process is the students' ability to self assess their work. Developing a student's self assessment ability enables them to "see" how their work relates to the criteria, what they did well and what they need to improve.

Sue Nicholson

Posted on 11/24/13 6:33:37 AM Permalink

I like to walk around my classroom and comment as they are working on their task, asking why they had done it that way, where do they go from here etc to get them to think outside of what they are doing and to experiment more

Shirley Coles

Posted on 11/24/13 5:29:33 AM Permalink

The Evaluation of Formative Assessment by Tim Xeriland is an on target explanation to grading and commenting. In my course of teaching I have found that when you give students grade on an assignment they look to see how high they have scored. When you give them both grade and comments, they look at the grade and leave the comments alone. However, when you give comments only, then will take the time to read it and if it is required for them to make corrections and improve on the assignment it will foster an interest for them to do better.

This is where students and teachers have the advantage of finding out where the learning gains are occurring but we are so busy trying to make show that we have enough grades in the grade book that we do not focus as much on the students and what they have actually comprehended from each assignment. Although, the amount of grades in the grade book is dropping but the other paper work is increasing that it takes a lot of devotion to focus on the students and what you would like to have them accomplish.

Mike Blegen

Posted on 11/23/13 11:38:22 PM Permalink

I think the key to effective assessment is developing the proper culture in the classroom. Students (and teachers) have been conditioned to study for the test and then move on once it's finished. There is a constant sense of anxiety as we rush through as much curriculum as possible by the end of the year, only to forget most of the useful lessons along the way...which is entirely counterproductive! The solution? Slow down and really take a look at the essential elements that you want students to understand and incorporate in their work.

I see formative assessment as the perfect fit for assessing creativity because it's all about growth. It doesn't mean that we redo the exact same assignment over and over until it's perfect (although that can be an interesting way to make everyone in the class psychotic). Instead, focus on some of the themes that unite your program and speak to those with your feedback-- "How did you use Contrast in this design? Why did you choose primary colors for the logo? You have a strong start to the story, but where are you going? Don't try to shoot this without having a solid story..."

Lori Lind

Posted on 11/23/13 11:03:04 PM Permalink

I have never studied the relationship between grades vs. feedback. I knew feedback was important but I didn't realize how important until I saw the first video. I'm not sure you can actually grade creativity - it's so subjective, so feedback is the way students can learn. It's sort of funny - my daughter said just last week that she did not receive any feedback on one of her in-class theater projects and she didn't know what she should improve on. She wished her teacher would have said something.

Lacey Hale

Posted on 11/23/13 9:06:33 PM Permalink

I believe that assessment can actually foster creativity. Assessment (esp. Formative Assessment) is simply commenting on how the student is doing, what they can improve, and how they need to go about doing so. Students can definitely learn from this procedure. They can only improve.

Pedro Perez

Posted on 11/23/13 6:30:53 PM Permalink

I agree with Rose, some (not all) of my students are so concerned with the grade that literally they don't care about the learning, if the activity is not going to be graded they do not want to participate, no matter how hard I try. Now I just add a few points to the activities so they get the motivation...

Rose Szabo

Posted on 11/23/13 4:12:27 PM Permalink

I do believe creativity can be assessed. It's been my experience that if you allow the student to feel comfortable where they are at, they will more readily be open to improving/building upon their creative side,through assessments. I do feel grades put a bit of a damper on creativity for some students just want the "right grade" and then they want to move on.

A J Butler

Posted on 11/23/13 2:44:06 PM Permalink

I think the importance of assessing creativity is that the feedback can communicate and develop the idea that there is value in not being imitative. It also can encourage the students to use a lot of different source material. I like to ask my students to think about how their project could be different from all the ones they've seen before.

Mary Slumpff

Posted on 11/22/13 11:06:06 PM Permalink

I think a simple easily understood rubric is key to assessing creativity. The students can reflect on their work and compare their outcomes to the rubric than make adjustments if needed. The feedback is based on the rubric standards.

Richard Campbell

Posted on 11/16/13 11:36:24 PM Permalink

This is a good general approach to the subject in a broad sense. One of the difficult parts of assessing creativity in the classroom is that there are so many mediums to work within and so many forms of expression, that an individual assessment will always seem incomplete. The topic of genuine originality expressed in a particular art form always brings up the issue of derivative works, or influenced works in particular with younger student creations.

Phil Schuyler

Posted on 11/5/13 10:58:55 PM Permalink

Creativity can not be something that can be demanded. Creativity exists when an environment is created for students to experiment freely with no inhibitions to fail.

Dennis Neufeld

Posted on 10/25/13 2:17:53 PM Permalink

I've always believed that creativity definitely CAN be assessed but I've never really understood how to define it so that my students would know what I wanted from them. In my video production and drama classes I've been giving students informal feedback on their creativity during the initial stages of their projects. One thing I was finding was that my feedback, although useful (I hope), wasn't necessarily consistent from group to group. What I mean is, for one group I might point out that was impressed with the number of sources they drew from but that they should see if they could take what those sources were saying and expand on it. For another group I might tell them that their project's aesthetics blew me away because I had never before considered that approach, but their project's message or theme was simply repeating what someone else has already said. Through conversations with each group, they were getting some informal assessment but they rarely knew how they stacked against the other groups in the class (in terms of creativity). Like Robinson said, pointing out that someone runs the minute mile isn't assessment. It's when we compare him to the other 'milers' that we're assessing. I appreciate the rubric provided here because it gives me a more uniform way of showing the class in advance how creativity is being measured. Even if they won't receive a score for it, creativity will give their work value and with this rubric they'll know how to get there.

Stanley Yip

Posted on 9/13/13 12:38:26 PM Permalink

Yes, I think creativity can be assessed. I agree with Robinson and Wiggins view of assessment of creativity. Assessment for creativity is very interesting. I like Brookhart's rubric as it seems to have elements of Robinson's and Wiggins' concepts on creativity and assessing creativity. As I read the article on the ASCD website I saw a lot of overlaps with Games Based Learning, (GBL) and game play in relation to teaching and learning.

Colleen Velasquez

Posted on 9/7/13 7:46:16 PM Permalink

I really value this input. I believe and have practiced some of the suggestions given both by Wiggins and in the current article Assessment FOR creativity. I do believe it can be assessed, and while it does help to have a practiced eye, it works even on a minimal level. It does build intrinsic value for the student so they want to learn more.

Phyllis Kaupp Seas

Posted on 9/5/13 6:37:50 PM Permalink

Since creativity is subjective, the assessment lies with the criteria set prior and how well the objectives of the task were met in fresh, original ways. Assessing Creativity puts a new burden on evaluators to look at the results in fresh ways as well to better understand the creativity level of the participant. The more creativity is rewarded in positive responses and most of all, new challenges to go further, the more creative the individual becomes.

I don't know how you can judge this, but I know for my own personal self, when I get "IN the zone" of creating, it is hard for me to want to stop and do something else.....because one creative "hit" leads me to another and another.....and it is a different feeling that just finishing tasks for the sake of completion. That is a personal insight of how I respond.

Drew Mayhills

Posted on 8/11/13 1:26:55 PM Permalink

This is an interesting topic - the assessment of creativity is almost paradoxical in that to assess it rigorously, a certain set of parameters have to be drawn up... and hence, the teacher (unintentionally one would hope) begins to stifle the creative process for students. The flip side to this, of course, is that students (in my experience, at least) often shine when they are allowed to be creative within certain limitations. The last thing we want to do is box the kids in - but at the same time, it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed and suffer from the creative equivalent of option paralysis when we don't draw out some boundaries.

I'm trying to get around this issue by inviting all students to contribute creatively to 'how' we do what we do in class through design thinking activities in which all students are required to contribute. What and how they choose to contribute is up to them - and this work is not actively contributing to their grade. Instead, I'm attempting to involve a greater degree of student autonomy in the curriculum so that there is a sense of community and ownership in what students produce for the grade.

I'm not sure that I've made myself particularly clear - and fairly certain I've avoided the question, but there you go! Thoughts?

Belinda Caulfield

Posted on 8/9/13 1:07:36 PM Permalink

As I work with staff and not learners, I always ask the staff how they use the Interactive Whiteboard, most use it to display powerpoints or to write on the board. Assessing creativity with teachers can be quite difficult because they adapt their teaching to suit the learners in the classroom. I start by asking them do they use games or interaction with the learners and the IWB, most of the time the answer is no or it is very limited. I demonstrate what could be achieved with some of their existing resources ie PPT presentation converted into a whiteboard resource and adapted to get the learners up to engage with the lesson. This could be an activity at the end of the lesson to gauge the learners knowledge or it could be turned into a game to be revisited at a later date. The creativity is how the teacher gets the learners to interact with the lesson and not just deliver a session. One teacher breaks the class into groups, one group has an ipad and some Augmented reality/QR coded activities, another group use the activity on the board and one group has a paper based activity. She supports the learners as they work, this has proved really successful as they are enjoying numeracy lessons and now look forward to attending class. The class moves around the activities and then discuss them as a group. Assessing creativity is quite difficult as each person sees creativity in a different way.

Imelda Hernández

Posted on 8/5/13 2:56:09 PM Permalink

For my measure a student's creative process represents a challenge. Many students are not considered creative people. That's the first hurdle. Then design a simple activity that allows them to reflect on the importance of creativity in everyday life.
Later we discuss the work of great artists and writers to identify the aspects that make this work something unique and original.
The aim is that students are able to identify the creative aspects of this work and try to incorporate it into your own creative process.

Phehello Mofokeng

Posted on 8/5/13 12:44:07 PM Permalink

I love the creative energy of some (not all) of my classes ... Its winter in SA and our classrooms are quite cold. So I find that the students are not too keen to speak in the morning after watching an-hour long film, so one has to improvise and sometimes even incentivise the class - by way of a challenge ... And this has worked - not always ...

Measuring creativity is very hard, but can be rewarding. I really hardly focus on measuring it, but I can measure how I have tried to encourage it ... This is the cornerstone of my classes. Getting youth to think creatively - not outside the box, but to throw the box away completely ...