June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.1460.1 - 22.1460.18
The First-to-Fourth Flatline: Assessing undergraduate students’ creative capacityGiven current, post-war models of engineering education, we hypothesized that, despite the needfor creative capacity in rapidly-changing global markets, graduating seniors might actually beless creative than their freshmen engineering cohorts. In other words, we theorized that currentmodels of engineering education do not foster creativity, and may actually stifle creativity. Thefindings of the current study confirm these suspicions to some degree, suggesting that, over thecourse of their college education, engineering students do not experience a dramatic change increativity as measured by two nationally-normed creativity assessment instruments: (a) theKirton Adaptor-Innovator Inventory, focused on originality, efficiency and conformity; and (b)the Abbreviated Torrence Test for Adults, focused on divergent-thinking. The sample included78 fourth-year and 132 first-year engineering student volunteers. While the first-and fourth-yearsample means were just above the national sample, no significant differences were foundbetween first- (n=132) and fourth-year (n=78) scores on the KAI. Fourth-year students seemed toscore significantly higher (.01) than freshmen students on the ATTA. Post hoc tests suggestedthat the difference could be attributed to first- and fourth-year males. Despite moderatecorrelations, however, additional multivariate analysis showed no interaction between class andgender on the ATTA. These results imply that undergraduate engineering education may notdiminish creativity; however, it likely does not enhance creativity either. Current curriculummodels create a creative capacity flatline between the first and fourth years. Future studiesshould address how the flatline phenomenon in engineering compares to other disciplines, howengineering curriculum reform might help students become frontline innovators, and how moreauthentic creative capacity measures might be developed.
Burgon, H., & Elliott-Litchfield, B., & Goldberg, D. E. (2011, June), The First-to-Fourth Flatline: Assessing Undergraduate Students' Creative Capacity Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18986
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