Assessing creativity as an aspired learning outcome: a four-part model

  • YEAR
    Ostwald, Michael J.
    Askland, Hedda Haugen
    Williams, Tony
    2011 Conference Papers
    Design Education


Creativity is a stated learning outcome of design disciplines and it often forms part of the
more general attributes guiding pedagogical activities and curricula. Nonetheless, the question of
assessing creativity remains highly contentious and it poses both pedagogical and legal or
administrative challenges to architectural educators. Whereas traditional assessment methods and
processes have often relied on the assessors’ subjective judgement and tacit understandings of what
is creative, the contemporary educational climate calls for enhanced transparency and objectivity
through often rigid quality assurance mechanisms. These changes in educational culture place
increasing pressure on teaching and assessment processes, with particular challenges facing the
assessment of creativity.

This paper presents a four-part model for assessment in design education. The model targets the
question of assessing creativity in design and outlines the different stages and the various facets of the
assessment process. It also identifies the dominant types of architectural assessment to be tested for
pedagogical and quality assurance compliance. Finally, the paper locates, identifies and interrogates
the four distinct levels of assessment, relating it to existing research from fields of architectural
education, pedagogy and assessment.


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