Assessing creativity

Definition: Creativity Assessment evaluates the learner’s ability to provide evidence of novel connections between ideas, artefacts and insights within a given context. The most surprising will be the most creative.

Description: In creativity assessment new connections have to be made in the mind of the learner, and these can be evidenced through iterative stages of development or reflective journals. Creative acts can be recorded and evaluated by asking: how many ideas? how are they interconnected? and how distinctively different are the range of solutions presented? Multiple and not single solutions are presented by the learner – in a response to a project that has no clearly predetermined outcome. Solutions and their connections must be well explained and justified within an appropriate context.

Benefits: A creative and knowledge intensive society can address economic and social issues and enhance growth through new ways of seeing and thinking. A creative mind can spot and respond to opportunities, navigate complex and ever changing scenarios and be resilient in the face of perceived failure, where the creative person views a failed attempt as successful learning. Entrepreneurs not only have new ideas for a business but can constantly adapt because they foresee many alternative ideas when circumstances change. Opportunity recognition is reliant on this type of creativity.

Challenges: Teachers require an awareness of when creativity is inhibited and when it is developed. For example, ‘fixed’ learning outcomes that clearly state what is needed are commonly used in education (Implement what is asked). However creative entrepreneurial people demonstrate divergence and breadth of thought; they find alternative solutions within changing circumstances (Innovation). They grasp opportunities that even teachers may not have seen. Teaching activities such as ‘brainstorming’ are usually short-lived and do not necessarily enhance long-term abilities. The challenge is to continuously develop a flow of creative outputs from learners.

Implementation examples Innovation examples
Can the student write and follow a business plan? Can the student respond positively to short term and ever changing venture environments / do they come up with new ideas in response?
Does the student respond to the problem identified by the educator? Does the student identify new problems and opportunities for themselves?


Applied to entrepreneurial teaching: In creativity assessment multiple creative ideas generation (divergent thinking) is the focus, not the testing of ideas (convergent thinking). How well do learners adapt to changing scenarios? How many different ideas can they generate? How well do they adapt their solutions when things change? How diverse and different are their (multiple) solutions. Less creative people will have fewer ideas and demonstrate a tendency to rush to singular solutions, whereas entrepreneurial people see more unusual links and connections, hence more opportunities.