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The Torrance Tests of Creativity are the most widely used assessment to measure not only potential creative talent but is also used to identify students for many gifted education programs worldwide. Dr. Paul E. Torrance first published his assessment in 1966. During its implementation the tests have been revised six times (Bart, Hokanson, and Can, 2016). Dr. Torrance’s original purpose for the Torrance Tests of Creativity (TTCT) was as way to identify student educational and creative strengths, to aid in individualizing student instruction, and to help in evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs (Kaufman and Baer, 2006; Zeng, Proctor, and Salvendy, 2011; Kim, 2006). The TTCT is comprised of and tests Figural and Verbal acumen of tested individuals. This paper will take into consideration the content, construct, and predictive validity of the Torrance Tests for Creativity as means to substantiate its use to assess creative thinking in elementary students.
The Torrance Tests of Creativity is divided in two tested sections: Figural and Verbal. These sections are important because some of the most important creative creations and/or products are derived from the cognitive processes in verbal and figural forms.
The figural section of the TTCT has three subtests called picture construction, picture completion, and repeated figures of lines or circles. The figural section is designed to measure fluency, originality, elaboration, abstractness of titles, resistance to premature closure, and creative strengths. Each subset takes ten minutes to complete, therefore the entire Figural component takes thirty minutes in its entirety. The second component of the TTCT is the Verbal component. The Verbal section has seven subsections: asking, guessing causes, guessing consequences, product improvement, unusual uses, unusual questions, and just suppose. The test in its entirety takes forty-five minutes to administer. The Figural and Verbal components of the TTCT are used in conjunction to measure creative strengths such as emotional expressiveness, unusual visualization, synthesis of incomplete figures, and humor among others. It can be assumed that since the TTCT has two forms is deliberate, suggesting that its creator understood that creativity can vary depending on the domain in which is being assessed and/or used (Kaufman and Baer, 2006). The TTCT is extensive in its approach to testing students. The content of the assessment does not just test one type of creativity or intelligence but assesses the skills that are generally associated with creativity and creative individuals. The content of the assessment also leads to the belief that Torrance is aware that there is not a limited set of creative characteristics, but those skills can be grouped together to create creative categories. The TTCT also considers that not every student is the same. The Figural section caters to students who can think creatively using pictures and images. The Verbal section caters to students who can think more creatively with words. This gives equal opportunity for all students to display their creativity and creative thinking.
It is generally agreed that creativity is multidimensional in nature. Dr. Torrance also subscribed to this thought of creativity and warned against using a composite score when administering the TTCT. He believed that each sub score had its own meaning and that the use of composite scoring would be misleading (Kim, 2006). There has been much debate and many additional studies conducted on the construct validity of the TTCT. Some researchers argue that the TTCT can only measure one dimension of creativity and not the several that it is being toted to assess. Researchers believe that the tested is outdated and lends itself to a two-factor model that is more in line with Kirton’s theory of cognitive styles to creativity. Those two factors would be innovative and adaptive (Bart, Hokanson, and Can, 2016). Torrance’s sub scores in fluency and originality would fall under the factor of innovative, and the sub scores of elaboration and abstractness are considered to be adaptive (Kim, 2006). It seems that the TTCT in its current state could use some updating to be more relevant to today’s newest research. The construct does not require a major overhaul but small tweaks. Many argue the validity of its construct because they cannot effectively determine which dimensions of creativity the Torrance measures.
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