Torrance tests of creative thinking identify hidden talents of children seen as behavior problems

iStock_000004579760XSmallThe Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), familiar to most educators in gifted education, can be used by educators to identify hidden talents in children who are seen as behavior problems, according to a report in Gifted Child Quarterly, which provides updated information on the 40-year-old test.

“The recent and growing emphasis on identifying and nurturing talents in youth has created a need for discovering a broad array of talents using a variety of measures,” according to the University of Georgia authors. “The TTCT are especially useful for identifying more students from underserved populations, because they are not as culturally loaded as other standardized assessments that might be used.” The tests can be used to redirect children’s misbehavior toward more positive pursuits.

Abbreviated test for adults can be used for screening

An abbreviated TTCT has been developed for adults. While the test does not have the same long trail of history and research, it is suitable for screening and shows promise for increased use because it can be administered in only 15 minutes. The test is appropriate for use with children; however, additional research should be done to establish its validity and reliability with that group.

E. Paul Torrance, creator of the tests, became interested in testing creativity after observing that many children seen as behavior problems were often also very creative. The test is composed of five verbal activities and three figural activities. Because the items are open-ended, students can express their interests, fears, hopes and knowledge about diverse topics and emotional states. There are five norm-referenced scores for fluency, originality, elaboration, abstractness of titles and resistance to premature close and 13 criterion-referenced measures of creative strength derived from years of creativity testing and research.

The TTCT has been shown to have predictive value for creative achievement in adulthood based on longitudinal studies. From 1958 through 1964 all pupils enrolled in grades 1-6 in two elementary schools took the tests and were followed up 22 years and 40 years later for creative achievement. Beginning in 1959 all members of a high school population were tested and then followed up after 7 years and then 12 years.

“A Report on the 40-Year Follow-Up of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking: Alive and Well in the New Millennium”, Gifted Child Quarterly, Volume 49 Number 4, Fall 2005.

Published in ERN November/December 2005 Volume 18 Number 9

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