From the Archives: Grading Creativity

After assigning projects for fashion design and portfolio classes, grading the work can seem nearly impossible.  How do you grade creativity? Without proper planning and communication, grading design can seem subjective and daunting.  Even worse, without proper grading criteria, your assignments can become a creativity killer to the students.

Image courtesy of quickgrader.com

Creating a rubric can demystify the grading process.  A rubric is a scoring guide that evaluates a student’s performance based on the sum of a full range of criteria rather than a single numerical score.  Consider what criteria are most important to you.  Include these in your rubric, and give each criteria a scaled, numerical value.  Be sure to discuss what you are looking for in each assignment and that the students should use the rubric to self-evaluate. Here is a rubric I used in a portfolio class:

 

Rubric for final grading,  100 points

 

Presentation

Neatness and workmanship

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Organization of content

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Labeling is correct and complete

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Ability to follow directions

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Creative development and abstract thinking

Image choices are thoughtful and inspirational

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Variety of materials used in the development of ideas

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Variety in the ability to dissect inspirational image

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Displays the ability to bridge conceptual thinking

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Proper use of principles and elements of design

2                        4                        6                        8                        10

 

Comments:

 

Now that the grading is demystified, you will have plenty of time to write commentary. Informative feedback is essential to fostering creativity. A grade with no rationale or steps for improvement impedes creativity.  Be sure to give ample feedback.  Here are some questions to keep in mind:

  • What did the student do particularly well?
  • How could they take their work to the next level?
  • Did you find anything inspirational?
  • Did their presentation help or hinder their development of ideas?

 

You should also consider incorporating longitudinal grading, points for growth and improvement, into your course. Creativity doesn’t fall under a normative grading standard.  There is no norm that every student must achieve.  If your assignments challenge the students to think in new ways, longitudinal grading helps you evaluate their growth.

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