An explorative study of creativity: assessment of design outcomes




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This research study presents an investigation of creativity assessment in design education. Prompted by an anecdotal observation on how creativity is approached in design academia, this research showed that both from a practical and theoretical point of view, creativity is yet to be fully understood. 50 years of research in the field seemed to have lead to more questions than answers as despite a theoretically rich body of knowledge, it is yet to be determined what is creativity and how could this be assessed. While gaining momentum since 2009, creativity as an investigatory area is only now on the global agenda, as experts urge that sectors such as higher education cannot afford any longer to only vaguely understand the assessment of creativity. The gaps in the literature which ranged from not having a clear, universally agreed upon assessment approach, to not knowing who should assess creativity exposed an opportunity for contribution to creativity research in general and creativity in design academia, in particular.

Set as an experimental study, this project made an attempt to propose a contribution to design academia by conducting a controlled exploration of creativity and its assessment. The experimental study put forward a theoretically pinned method of investigation: the Creativity Genoplore (CG) which implied a two stage study: the generation of a design product (geno) followed by its assessment exploration (plore). Upon the development of a simple task referred to as Creativity Board (CBoard), 68 design students produced design outcomes which were consequently assessed by 47 design academics. Upon the analysis of the results, it was found that while from a theoretical point of view, a universal understanding of creativity does not exist, within the remits of this experiment the academics agreed with each other on what makes a design outcome creative. The 0.831, inter-rater agreement (Cronbach Alpha coefficient), which according to the literature placed the agreement on the good to fairly high bracket, implied that design academics know how to assess creativity and could pinpoint and deconstruct creativity. This was supported both by the agreement between the academics and the common keywords they have used to describe the creativity of a design product. As such, a clarification of creativity as a marking criteria on assessment sheets was possible, which in turn intended to prompt a further discussion on how is creativity assessed in general and design academia in particular.

The results of the study also found that there might be value in centring further investigations on what does not constitute a design creative and on extracting the definitions of the keywords design academics used to justify their assessment.





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