We can, will, and should assess creativity in all ages in all classrooms. If we, as educators wish to create makers and creative collaborative problem solvers the key to all of these is creativity. Assessing creativity through standardized testing is impossible. Filling in a bubble shows no signs of creativity. Let’s have students do projects, participate in collaborative problem solving conversations, and self assessments to show learning and understanding.
If we were doing a science unit in kindergarten about the five senses instead of a simple unexciting multiple choice test in the end, let’s give student a chance to make and use their creativity. Have them come up as a group with a project that uses students knowledge to show the use of all five senses within their creation. This gives students the opportunity to collaborate with others and use their maker knowledge and creativity to create something that they can learn from and be proud of. In the end students can do a self assessment and reflection on their learning.
I would absolutely love to assess in these ways, but there are some issues that come up. “Educators sometimes say that they shy from assessing creative thought for fear of inhibiting students” (Wiggins, 2012) As an educator there is this fear, but also the fear of when you assess students this way then will they be ready for the mandatory standardized tests? When I was teaching kindergarten I remember my administrator telling me that for my students to do well on the standardized test I need to assess students in ways that are similar the mandatory tests to prepare them and have them familiar with that formatting. This was always frustrating and still is because as an educator you want to be able to use your creativity and have the students shine in using theirs!
I remember as a student always getting stressed out and “choking” when it came to taking a test. When I was able to show my creativity, that is where I shined. So many students are also this way, and if we give them the opportunities to be assessed based on their creativity so many students will sparkle. With this use of assessing for creativity students can also be given the chance to self-assess and self-adjust so they can learn from themselves and see for themselves what they can do better.
Another concern that rises will be setting up the classroom so students will participate effectively in these different opportunities. “For example, we know that without excellent classroom management, project-based learning efforts devolve to classroom chaos.” (Isselhardt, 2013) I believe that if you set the groundwork from the beginning of the year and have effective modeling and expectations students will learn and succeed in these new ways of learning and showing growth and understanding.
Overall, I would love for students across the nation to be given these opportunities to create and become makers. Now what needs to be done is to give teachers the “permission” to teach and assess in these ways, administrators and lawmakers need to see how beneficial this way of learning is and take steps to provide our students with the best chance for success.
Isselhardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/PBL-aligned-to-common-core-eric-isslehardt
Wriggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: Yes you can, and yes you should. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/