Progression in Creativity: A Literature Review

Authors: Ellen Spencer, Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton

This literature review provides an overview of the key issues and debates surrounding creativity and the potential for assessing it in individuals. The authors discuss the concepts of assessment, progression and creativity, how creativity is experienced in society and in schools, and consider the tensions faced by schools working to promote and develop it in their work.

The review underpins a CCE-commissioned research report conducted by the authors which aimed to explore the possibility of developing a framework for assessing creativity in school age learners.  The full report is available at

There have been numerous attempts to assess creativity in school pupils (discussed in section 7). However, the fact that no single model or approach has ever been able to assert itself within educational settings suggests that there are some deep rooted challenges to overcome. Not least is the question of whether there is a central contradiction between the development of creativity in young people and the way schools are currently configured. With their focus on age related exams, large class sizes and non-individualised projects it often seems difficult to see how schools might be able to sustain a credible focus on the development of creativity while at the same time conforming to other mandatory modes of assessment which value different forms of learning and knowledge than those we might describe as creative.


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