Assessing creativity: proposition

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Askland, Hedda Haugen; Ostwald, Michael J; Williams, Anthony
Series: E&PDE
Section: Pedagogy
Page(s): 275-280


The assessment of creative works is one of the most contentious issues facing contemporary design educators. This problem was first recognised by Donald Schön (1985, 1987) in his early work of formative assessment in studio environment, and it is a problem that since then has been explored by a range of scholars (e.g. Cuff 991, Stevens 1998). In a recent study on architectural education in Australasia, Ostwald and Williams (2008a, 2008b) argue that the rise of quality assurance mechanisms for assessment and teaching have placed particular pressure on traditional assessment methods and processes. Traditional assessment practice has often relied on the assessors’ subjective judgement and tacit understandings of what is creative. This is inappropriate from a quality assurance perspective. Moreover, it places the assessment process beyond the legal and managerial expectations to which contemporary assessment and teaching practice must conform. Regardless of whether these changes in educational culture are reasonable or not, the fact remains that there is increasing pressure on teaching and assessment processes, with particular issues facing assessment of creativity.

This paper proposes a set of ‘best practice’ assessment models for assessing creativity in the design. These models have been developed as part of the ongoing Australian Learning and Teaching Project Assessing Creativity: Strategies and Tools to Support Teaching and Learning in Architecture and Design. The models have been developed through an exploration of design practitioners’, academics’ and students’ perceptions of creativity and their experiences of assessing creativity and/or having their creative works assessed. The paper does not propose a framework for policy, but provides suggestions to design academics as to how they may overcome difficulties associated with assessment in a university climate that is increasingly focussed on quality assurance, objective and transparent assessment.

Keywords: design education, assessment, creativity, best-practice models


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