UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Ellis, Neville John
Thesis (M.Ed.) National University of Singapore
Tay-Koay, Siew Luan
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

This study investigates how art teachers judge the creativity of student artwork, both conceptually and operationally. The variables, experience as an examiner, degree of training and exposure to non-Asian cultures, were studied to see how they might influence art teachers' judgements. Two instruments were developed for the purpose of this study. The first instrument was used to measure art teachers' ratings of creativity. In order to develop such an instrument, three expert judges were asked to independently and subjectively rate the creativity of 50 examples of student art work which had been documented in photograph form. Item analysis was used to refine the instrument to 25 items. The second instrument was a questionnaire designed to collect both background information and qualitative data from the respondents. The sample, selected randomly using a stratified sampling technique, consisted of a total of 50 art teachers from 21 secondary schools in Singapore. Results of this study seem to reveal that while the interactive variables under the study influence a teacher's conceptual understanding of creativity, the same variables have little effect on a teacher's judgement when rating the creativity of an art product. In general terms, art teachers in Singapore believe that originality, cognition, skill, and to a lesser degree, expressive qualities and aesthetic appeal, are conditions of both creativity and a creative product. However, different emphasis was placed on these conditions by the different groups under study. For instance, art teachers with experience as examiners consistently place more emphasis on expressive qualities, compared to non-examiners, as a condition of creativity and a criterion for judging a creative product. Therefore, it was determined that the interactive variables do affect an art teacher's conceptual definition of creativity. Art teachers further indicated that they believed that the interactive variables under study would affect the way a teacher rates the creativity of student art work. However, results of this study indicate a difference between art teachers' perceived ratings and art teachers' actual ratings. The variables under study seem to have little effect on art teachers' ratings of creativity. Art teachers were able to reach moderate agreement despite their backgrounds. Further, there was no significant differences between most of the scores given by art teachers who have had experience as an examiner and those who have not. Similar results were found when the variables training in art and exposure to a non-Asian culture were studied. It was also found that the scores given by art teachers correlated highly with the scores given by the expert judges. So while the conceptual definitions of creativity given by art teachers varied accordingly, the variables under study did not seem to have much effect on art teachers' actual ratings. The findings from the study therefore imply that the usefulness of the term creativity needs to be questioned. There is not a clear notion among art teachers as to what constitutes creativity and a creative product. It would seem that the term needs to be clearly defined, both conceptually and operationally, in documents where it appears or be replaced with a less ambiguous term or other action be taken to ensure that art teachers have a more consistent understanding of the term.

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