Latest research| July, 2015

Creative Performance Assessed with Creative Spectacles

Presentation by Professor Richard Kimbell, Goldsmiths, University of London, at the IAEA 2009 Assessment for Creative World conference, 13 – 18 September, Brisbane.

Creative performance lies at the heart of every school subject. Innovative investigating in
science; imaginative spatial exploration in geography; creative product development in
design. Attempting to capture these creative performances for assessment purposes has
frequently destroyed them. Just as the illusive butterfly is damaged or crushed by crude
wafting of a catch net.

Designing activities that enable us to reveal and capture creative performance has led us to
explore a mass of digital technologies – and to the evolution of ‘real-time’ portfolios that illuminate collaborative as well as innovative performance. The activities move through a
series of sub-tasks enabling learners to leave behind them an evidence-trail of their route
through the task. The performance is all captured in real-time web-portfolios.
At the assessment end of the process, creative performance has typically been ripped
apart by the application of atomistic criteria. Yet teachers know which of their students
are the really imaginative scientists; the innovative designers; the eloquent authors. When
the bits don’t add up to the right answer – confident teachers change their ‘bit’ scores to
make sure it does.

Holistic judgement circumvents this time-wasting nonsense. Criteria are used to inform
the judgement – but the judgement itself is of the whole integrated performance. To be
taken seriously in high stakes assessment, such an approach has to be especially alert to
technical challenges. With Pollitt we have created a ‘pairs engine’ that automates a
comparative pairs (Thurstone) judging process. Not only is the reliability of the assessment
extraordinarily high (0.95) but the data on individual portfolios and judges
allows us to identify and deal with any technical problems.

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