Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019

Assessing creative thinking

ACER Senior Research Fellow Ray Philpot recently delivered a presentation on computer-based assessment of creative thinking at a symposium in Beijing, China.

The International Symposium on the Application of Artificial Intelligence in Education: Assessment, Improvement, and Advancement was held in August 2019. The symposium consisted of short presentations by 21 invited experts from around the world, with audience discussion and question time for each.

Mr Philpot’s presentation covered how aspects of creative thinking can be assessed, including process and performance assessment using computer tools and simulations. The four main themes of the symposium: Learning Analytics, Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education and AI in Psychology were streamed live, with 1.5 million hits during the first day.

ACER has experience in creating extended critical and creative thinking assessments in a large project for the Victorian education department and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to assess students from Year 1 through to Year 10 across all curriculum areas. ACER developed about 30 scenario-based modules with 285 assessment items. Mr Philpot authored many of these items and drew on this experience for his presentation in the Beijing symposium.

More recently, ACER's Centre for Assessment Reform and Innovation (CARI) is working on a conceptual framework of creative thinking, based on theory and research. CARI has developed situation-based tasks to assess creative thinking that are currently being trialled in schools.

Assessment of creative thinking has become a topic of broad interest. The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2021 will test 15-year-old students in creative thinking, in addition to reading, mathematics and science. ACER is the National Project Manager for PISA 2021 and will coordinate the implementation of the PISA tests in Australia, including training markers of the creative thinking responses.