Barbara looked across the table at Kenneth's mother, Mrs. Greene. The conference was not going as well as Barbara had hoped. Mrs. Greene was concerned about the difficulties Kenneth was having in some areas, particularly spelling, but did not seem to see the strengths Barbara thought so important. Barbara considered Kenneth one of the most creative students she had ever taught. His comments in class frequently reflected a unique point of view, and his projects, although not always the neatest in the class, almost always included elements Barbara had never considered. Mrs. Greene was unimpressed. “Creative, ” she exclaimed. “I'm not even sure I know what that means. How can you tell he's creative, anyway? In math, lOOd means he did a good job. Can you be lOOd creative? It looks to me as if he's pulling a fast one on you. Kenneth can be pretty tricky. “Barbara didn 't know what to say. How did she know Kenneth was creative? Could she prove it? Should she try?
Barbara's dilemma is not unique. Efforts to assess creativity have been as challenging as the quest to define it. The complex and elusive nature of the construct, combined with limitations in the technology of our measurements, make precise assessment of creativity a daunting task. Yet efforts to enhance creativity in children seem doomed to failure unless we can recognize creativity when it occurs. Allowing these judgments to