Image by Michaela Kobyakov
How do you measure a soft skill like creativity?

Several of my posts right now are focusing on workshops because that has been consuming many of my weekends. Recently I attended the NESA leadership conference and wrote a post about applying the content learned to my artist-practice.  I specifically addressed the keynote speaker Tom Guskey in that post. Today I plan to talk about the workshop with Teresa Arpin and how I can take and apply this to my creativity.
Teresa Arpin led a workshop entitled: Measuring What Matters: Strategies for Tracking Progress on 21st Century & Other “Soft” Skills.” This course discussed the notion of soft skills, such as creativity. In a school environment we often try to measure student success, especially with current politics and policies all about test scores. So, how does one reflect on and measure something like creativity?

Teresa suggests using and creating a rubric to measure the success and progress of a soft skill. My team practiced defining and articulating something called a Culture of Kindness we celebrate in our school community. What key factors do we believe create that culture? What would be a proficient purveyor of the culture be as opposed to the beginning or developing purveyor of this culture?

I believe this is obvious in its connection to creativity since creativity is one of the actual skills Teresa Arpin suggests we address! This could open SO many doors to artists looking to reflect on and improve their work. We could create rubrics to reflect on success in creativity, idea generation, process…. we could even apply this to more concrete ideas such as marketing strategy. Not everyone will have the where-with-all to create such rubrics, but wouldn’t it be great to have a tool, created and defined by your specific goals for yourself, to see how far you are coming along?! Anyone? I certainly think so.

Teresa Arpin suggests you have 4-7 descriptors for each category of what you are measuring. For example, for Culture of Kindess, we argued this consisted of Awareness, Developing Habits, Action, and Reflection. And each of these could be rated: Beginning, Developing, Proficient, or Exemplary. For each rating, there should be a similar number of descriptors to help define and articulate the expectation of having met a specific rating. Important to note: people often include notions of timing in their assessments such as frequently or sometimes does something… Arpin specifically suggested avoiding descriptions of time that time is not a good measure of  performance and thus does not fit into our rubric.

Example of the skeleton of a rubric. The elements that make up your soft skill would be placed in the empty left column. You can choose any rating categories you like across the top, these are the categories that Teresa Arpin recommended.Thank you to Ms. Arpin for a starting point!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What qualities besides creativity would you offer as soft skills in the arts? How could we begin to evaluate and measure them?