Creativity Assessment

Creativity has been studied extensively since 1956 when the NSF sponsored the first national research conference on creativity (Taylor, 1962). Within engineering education, one often hears the call for the development of creativity in engineering students. As part of the IDEAS grant (DUE-0836861), we examined the relationship between domain specific hypothetical challenges and opportunities, and engineering students’ self-reported attitudes and behavioral intentions designed to measure creative self-efficacy in engineering. Our concept of creative self-efficacy in engineering was designed to assess one’s confidence in their ability to be creative within the engineering domain. Using factors analysis procedures, we have identified factors that appear to be novel indicators of creative self-efficacy in engineering.

These factors account for approximately 42% of the variance in the data.  The 3 factors along with items contributing to each factor are:

  1. Factor 1 – Engineering Creativity (accounting for approximately 18% of variance)
    1. I consider myself the type of person who will make novel contributions to the field of engineering.
    2. I often find myself deep in thought about an idea that one of my professors brought up in class.
    3. I look forward to the opportunity to apply engineering concepts in novel ways to solve problems.
    4. I often think about how common engineering problems could be solved using more sustainable methods.
    5. I can’t wait to apply new concepts after learning about them in class.
  2. Factor 2 – Creativity in problem solving (accounting for approximately 14% of variance)
    1. I am often very creative when solving problems.
    2. I naturally approach problems by trying to think “outside of the box”
    3. When working with a group, I often have ideas that the group chooses to adopt.
  3. Factor 3 – Stress when Creativity required (accounting for approximately 10% of variance)
    1. I prefer assignments that are given with clear instructions for completion rather than those in which I am free to decide how to complete them
    2. I often get frustrated when trying to solve an ill-defined problem
    3. I get anxious when confronted with an assignment that I don’t feel prepared to complete.

We hope to continue refining the scale for future utility in assessing engineering creativity.

For more information about our assessment for Creative Self-Efficacy in Engineering, contact Susan Amato (