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Creativity: Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT)

Th e 1960s and 1970s saw a growing interest in the assessment of a previously overlooked ability: creativity. One can defi ne creativity as the ability to be original, to combine known facts in new ways, or to fi nd new relationships between known facts. Evaluating creativity may provide a possible alternative to IQ testing. Creativity tests may also be useful in a battery to help explain the nature of a students diffi culty in the classroom. However, like learning disability tests, most creativity tests are still in the early stages of development. One of the best, most established, and most popular of these creativity tests is the TTCT. Th e Torrance tests separately measure aspects of creative thinking such as fl uency, originality, and fl exibility (Palaniappan & Torrance, 2001). In measuring fl uency, administrators ask an individual to think of as many diff erent solutions to a problem as possible. Th e more distinct solutions a person can fi nd, the greater his or her fl uency. To evaluate originality, a test maker attempts to evaluate how new or unusual a persons solutions to problems are. Finally, fl exibility is measured in terms of an individuals ability to shift directions or try a new approach to problem solving. For example, if the way you study for exams has not met your goals, then you would show fl exibility if you tried a new approach. For example, instead of spending all your time passively rereading, you might try the recall method in which you spend half your study time trying to recall and synthesize what you have learned. Like individual ability tests for the handicapped and tests of learning disability, the TTCT does not meet the Binet and Wechsler scales in terms of standardization, reliability, and validity. Reliability studies have varied widely (e.g., correlations of .35 to .73 for a 3-year period), and validity studies have tended to be varied as well as inconclusive (Kim, Cramond, & Bandalos, 2006). Unlike some creativity tests,

the TTCT was conservatively presented as a research tool, but little has been done to prevent it from being applied in educational settings. Caution is indicated. On the positive side, several research studies have supported the utility of the Torrance tests as an unbiased indicator of giftedness (Torrance, 1970, 1977; see also Santosa, 2007; Kim, 2006). Factor analytic studies have suggested that the various types of creative thinking (fl uency, fl exibility, originality) tend to load on a single, general factor (Clapham, 1998). However, far more work is needed; today, human creativity surprisingly remains a largely unexplained fi eld. In sum, the Torrance tests are typical of creativity tests. Applied practitioners demand such a tool for their work. Th ough inconsistent, available data refl ect the tests merit and fi ne potential. As with so many other tests, however, more work is needed. One should view results from creativity tests as tentative, and to be used only in conjunction with other tests. Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues 7th Ed. 2009 Robert M. Kaplan, Dennis P. Saccuzzo