This is an ongoing research project centered on defining creativity, and evaluating or measuring it in the products of student work.  While many in the field of educational research have increasingly acknowledged the importance of creativity in the classroom, one of the key difficulties they encounter is this problem of definition.  Despite its importance, creativity has been notoriously hard to define. We have built a definition based on the work of several other creativity researchers/scholars (Besemer, 1998; Besemer & O’Quin, 1999; Sternberg & O’Hara, 1999), that suggests that creative products can be defined along three constructs:  novelty, effectiveness, and wholeness.

Creative solutions are noveleffective and whole. Such work is not merely new or interesting, it is also useful, and contains a certain aesthetic sensibility, which is connected to its specific context—the “whole”ness. We utilize this three-factored definition of creativity and its resulting acronym of NEW, as a framework for guiding our research on the creativity in student work. Based on this, we developed an instrument to assess creative artifacts for their novelty, effectiveness, and wholeness, in seeking to provide a systematic way to evaluate products for creativity. Our rubric effectively provides evaluation guidelines along the three key dimensions, and artifacts are given a score between 1 and 5 for each. The rubric provides definitions at each score point as well as providing examples (or “anchor artifacts”) to provide a sense of what may be expected at each point. At present time, we are currently engaged in the data analysis, and in rating a whole range of other artifacts (from more current versions of the creativity course). Preliminary results show us some general patterns in the way that creativity is evolving in this course, but since the analysis is still in process, we hope to share more information in forthcoming publications.  For a more detailed overview of the NEW definition of creativity, and the rubric itself, see the Tech Trends Publication on this same topic here: