Assessing Creativity

Assessment has been a term in education for a long time but is usually thought about as assessing content learned, collaboration and the organization of a project or writing. When thinking of the maker movement, a large part of learning is creativity, so the question is, how do we assess these components in a nation where we believe that it is unjust to critique one’s originality? In Grant Wiggin’s blog, On Assessing Creativity: Yes You Can, and Yes You Should (2012), he states, “Educators sometimes say that they shy from assessing creative thought for fear of inhibiting students, but this is a grave error in my view, even if the fear should be honored as coming from a desire to help.” In our last week of CEP 811, I am asked to complete the following sentence, “As an educator charged with the assessment of student learning, I would assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons in the following ways…”

First of all, students need to understand what creativity entails. This can be done through a rubric. As a second grade teacher, this rubric would need to be simple and easy to understand. It would contain yes and no questions about the components of creativity. Here are some questions that would be included in the rubric based off of Grant Wiggins’ blog (2012) link to a creative rubric:

  • Does the work achieve the purpose in a way that has not been imagined before?
  • Have materials been repurposed in a new and clever way?
  • Is the audience amazed by and engaged in the work?
  • Does the work show “thinking outside the box”?
  • Comments and/or questions

The most powerful of these questions is the first, which focuses on achieving the purpose, or impact. Wiggins (2012) argues that “[t]he more we focus on impact – did you achieve the goal of such a performance? – instead of such abstract things as “focus” and “organization” or such indicators such as “eye contact” in speaking,… the more students can practice, get feedback, and self-assess and self-adjust on their own.” After all, doesn’t focus, organization and eye contact all result in engagement and work toward achieving the purpose? This first question will aid students in having the mindset of creating for a purpose other than just finishing a project for a good grade or to please the teacher.

Therefore, with this rubric, must come tremendous amounts of feedback from their audience, whether it be the class, teachers, parents, the school or the community. Feedback is a type of formative and summative assessment. Throughout their making, students need feedback to ensure that they are on the right track. They should be assessing themselves and also receiving it from others. To do this, I would have students fill out the rubric for themselves periodically and have their audience do the same. When the student AND the audience can answer yes to all the questions, they would know that the work had been completed.

With creativity comes reflection, so once the work is complete, I would ask the students one question: What were some struggles that happened throughout the making, and what did you do to solve them? With this question, students and the teacher are able to reflect on their learning and creativity throughout the process.

With this approach to assessing creativity, students are able to self-assess, as well as get feedback from others in a productive way.


Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

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