By Susan M. Brookhart
"Creativity is a simple concept that can be difficult to get your head around. In its most basic sense, creative means "original and of high quality" (Perkins, 1981, p. 6). The girl's school spirit poem was of high quality, but it was workmanlike and derivative. The boy's self-analysis poem was original, and the poetic composition and word choice were fine; he just needed to attend to the quality of the mechanics. Of course, a poem that is uninterpretable or meaningless, no matter how original, can't be creative.
"What does it look like when schoolwork is original and of high quality? Probably the foremost characteristic of creative students is that they put things together in new ways (Brookhart, 2010). For example, while writing a poem about a sunset, a student who observes that moment when the sunset looks very much like a sunrise and makes the connection to other endings that can also foreshadow beginnings is more creative than a student who describes that moment as "red and fiery."
"Students who are able to put things together in new ways can observe things others might miss, construct more novel products, give more novel performances, use more unusual or unconventional imagery to make points, observe ordinary things and find in them an area to wonder about or a problem to solve, and the like.
"Not all schoolwork, even performance assessments, supports this sort of thinking. Before you can assess creativity, you need to make sure that the tasks you set for students are conducive to creativity."
Via Jim Lerman