Should we measure creativity?

I read an interesting article in Mind/Shift. You can read it here. The article asks the question, “Is it possible to measure creativity?” And according to the article, the Torrance Test does just that – like the IQ test measures intelligence, it measures creativity.

I think that the value of creativity is easily accepted. There are many books and talks on the subject. Sir Ken Robinson, for example, writes about the topic of creativity and gave an excellent TED Talk about it, “How schools kill creativity.” Nowadays businesses are actively seeking creative people who are equipped not only to do the jobs of today, but who are also positioned to take on tomorrow’s not-yet-imagined jobs. Creativity is important. And the idea follows that it is important enough to be measured.

Let’s assume that assessments such as the Torrance Test validly evaluate the creativity. (Because, of course, there are many factors that go into assessment – not the least of which is measuring how good someone is at taking tests.) I wonder if we should measure creativity, just because we can. What are the broader consequences of pursuing the assessment of creativity? Doesn’t the act of putting creativity on a checklist or a scale inherently remove creativity from the equation? Creativity (like many critical thinking skills) seems to be a disposition that shifts through time and between cultures. I spoke about this idea with a colleague, and she asked an poignant question, “What is it about our society that we feel that measurement is the only way to understand achievement?” Instead of scoring creativity, we might better understand ourselves, our learners and creativity itself by approaching with a question of, “How does this [learner] explore his/her own creativity?” (also from my colleague).

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