A conceptual framework to measure creativity at tertiary educational level
Creativity only recently became the subject of systematic research, specifically over the past two decades. This is largely due to the fact that creativity is often misunderstood due to inconsistencies concerning the definition of creativity, the methodologies used to explain creativity as a phenomenon and the various measurement instruments to determine creative ability. Even though creativity is misunderstood, it should not be underestimated, because it is the fuel that leads to the development of new knowledge, products, services and other advances to improve human life and is an important knowledge resource in the global knowledge economy. The knowledge economy of today places great value on education and creativity as critical knowledge resources. Education not only provides knowledge, expertise and research capabilities, but plays a critical role in the development of creative skills and educational institutions should therefore be able to measure creativity and to implement practical ways to develop these skills. The focus of this study was to investigate the measurement of creativity specifically at a general and tertiary educational level. The research indicated that there are various creativity models and measures available, but it is important to find a reliable and valid measure for creativity which can impact positively on testing and tracking of creativity in South African at a general level and at a tertiary educational level. The research also indicated that various challenges exist in developing reliable and valid instruments to measure creativity. Several research studies were investigated to form part of a new conceptual framework to measure creativity. From an academic viewpoint, the identification and application of all the relevant influences, identified from these studies, were essential in the construction of a framework that can guide the measurement of creativity at a general and tertiary educational level. The aim of this study was to identify the influences that are most important in measuring creativity in the tertiary educational sector in South Africa. The study led to the invention of two conceptual frameworks using the identified influences and presented the interrelationship between these influences. The primary theoretical background and concepts in creativity and measuring creativity for this study ranged from the history of creativity research, covering a total of twenty–five models between the period 1929 to 2009. The extensive review of literature resulted in the identification of 28 creativity influences that were grouped into 18 cognitive psychology influences and 10 personality characteristics influences. These influences were then reduced into a manageable set for this thesis involved selecting the most commonly used reliable and valid creativity influences. This led to the identification of 9 influences to measure creativity at a general level and 11 influences to measure creativity at a tertiary educational level. The empirical study was conducted among a sample of 500 undergraduate students, per questionnaire, from the North–West University in Potchefstroom (NWU). The empirical study based on the selected 9 and 11 influences respectively yielded results that measured the strength of each influence and the interrelationship of influences. The results were analysed by the process of factor analysis, and were presented in the form of two conceptual frameworks to measure creativity (one at a general level and the other at a tertiary educational level). The results of the study confirmed that different influences have different effects on measuring creativity. The conceptual framework to measure creativity at a general level (CF1) included external factors that influence creative potential, for example, religion, culture and family. The conceptual framework to measure creativity at a tertiary educational level (CF2) included cognitive and thinking processes required at tertiary educational level, for example, synthesis, association and experimentation. The uniqueness and value of the study lies in the evaluation of various creativity influences that was collectively assembled in two conceptual frameworks that were then compared by using a comparative analysis to determine the most suitable framework for a tertiary educational setting. The most important contribution of the study is therefore the construction of these conceptual frameworks through which creativity could be measured.
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