Creativity is a skill that should be encouraged to all students to help them grow in their learning process. Most believe that you cannot judge or assess creativity, but in order to encourage growth we need to give feedback in order for learners to push themselves further. I believe maker-inspired lessons require creativity but need to be assessed in order to help the student develop their critical thinking skills when creating. If I were to assess a maker-inspired lesson I would give constant feedback and also encourage the students to evaluate themselves.
My personal feedback would be presented to the students by asking questions throughout the assignment and ending more formally with a rubric. I believe that asking questions throughout the student’s investigation time will allow me, as a teacher, to clarify instructions to challenge the student, or to clarify their process. The rubric is meant for structural guidelines to let the students know the purpose of the assignment and an end goal, but not giving specific details that could restrict creativity. Most rubrics in math have a 4,3,2,1 scale, but I would just make students aware of points that are provided for their overall process that would give the student feedback that they did or did not obtain the overarching question or goal of the project. Wiggins (2012) observed a teacher that assessed his students’ creativity with an all or nothing mentality, because the students need to know if they are presenting well or not. This idea also allows the student to be creative and not feel like they should follow the specifics of a rubric, but rather prove to themselves and their audience if they have made an impact or not. Teachers often feel like they should be weary when giving students feedback on creative assignments because of hinder a student from being creative in the future. Wiggins (2012) explains why should we hold back on this feedback when students understand the difference between engaging and not engaging.
I also believe that students should reflect about their own learning and evaluate themselves. As a teacher I find it interesting to see how a student would assess their own work and also have them explain their thought process throughout their work. This allows me to see more of the background and development of their creativity, which may not have been presented, as it should in the final product. In math students often have to show work that might not show up in the final product even thought other’s know how much time and understanding it must take to develop their end goal. Within this reflection it will allow the student to explain in their own words their understanding of the assignment. Gee (2010) explained that he did not understand the directions of a game until he was able to play the game and then read through the directions because it helped him have a better understanding of the language used. The same idea will be implemented with the self-reflection because it allows the student to explain misunderstandings and how they were able to overcome them through exploration.
Therefore creativity can be assessed as long as the teacher is willing to give feedback that will benefit the learner and help them grow. This is why most of us decide to become teachers, and help students better themselves through the relationships we create. Teachers can decide if we “sugar-coat” our feedback or actually allow our students know how engaging their ideas can be to others. I believe creativity is the biggest principle in maker-culture, with one person’s creativity it can encourage future makers to explore and continue improving upon one another.
Here is an example of a self-reflection assessment I like to hand out to my students during creative assignments that I hope to continue to use with maker-inspired lessons.
Full document of: SelfReflection
Gee, J. (2010). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games. Retrieved June 30, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU3pwCD-ey0
Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/