The Evaluation of Creative Works of Students of Art Speciality


Aleksandra Slahova, Ilze Volonte, Maris Cacka, Jolanta Savvina, Baiba Valpetere

Department of Art, Daugavpils University, Latvia





The evaluation of students’ creative works of art speciality is a major issue. Art pedagogy has always put a question how and according to which criteria the evaluation of creative works can take place.

While presenting the evaluation of pedagogical work at Daugavpils University, in Collage of Art “Saules School” and in other educational establishments, we need to conclude that the evaluation of students’ creative work takes place as viewed by the individual educator who sometimes can not be understood.

This problem arises because some educators do not see the significant difference between creativity and innovative work.

By evaluating pedagogical and psychological literature we can conclude that many authors understand creative work and creativity differently. Pedagogical practice indicates that there is significant amount of literature on academic and creative works.

It is substantially to study students’ opinions about their intentions, because more often the teacher by observing the piece of art gives a remark: “This work of art is not good”.

Such evaluation prevents the desire of a student to participate in a creative process again. At the worst the evaluation might cause a negative attitude towards the courses of study and provoke a disinclination to participate in courses. In this aspect a table with the most significant criteria for the evaluation of academic creative works had been worked out. There are present the scale of evaluation of creative works in this article.




The evaluation of creative works is dependent on how effectively the process of teaching and learning itself is organized.

As a result of a wrong attitude towards the evaluation the educator can lessen ones creative abilities. More often the attention is concentrated only on the result of action ignoring a creative process, without a clear understanding of the content of a creative work.

Having analyzed the correspondence between the evaluation of pedagogical action and the model of the evaluation of teaching and learning within the context of a humanistic paradigm, some shortcomings of the evaluation of art works are to be singled out:

l        Evaluation is orientated towards the pedagogue’s comfort, not towards assistance to pupils.

l        The process of creative activity is not evaluated (the result is mainly evaluated).

l        The evaluation criteria are not worked out. So the control and evaluation is of little effectiveness and the result of evaluation does not reflect the real situation.

l        Students’ stress and a fear of evaluation lessen the quality of evaluation.

The most important function of any control is a possibility to obtain information about the process of the acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities as well as about the development of students’ abilities to devote themselves to cognitive and creative activity. Therefore the following principles of the evaluation must be followed in the process of teaching and learning:


1.Evaluation is a continuous process of information search to judge and to make decisions about the effectiveness of students’ and pedagogues’ work.

2.Evaluation must be fair to all and evaluation must assist students to realize their growth.

3.The criteria for evaluation must be understandable. The substantiation of evaluation must be accessible and understandable. A pedagogue cannot evaluate something that is not possible to teach.

4.Evaluation must be a positive contribution towards studies and the development of personality. To evaluate the process of work is as essential as to evaluate the result. It is extremely important to evaluate the students’ achievements, knowledge, comprehension, abilities and attitudes. 

5.Evaluation must correspond with the achievements of teaching and learning as in the curriculum.  

In connection with this the aim of the research is set: to work out and approve experimentally the criteria of the evaluation of creative works of the students majoring in art basing on diverse features of academic works of art on one side and creative works on the other side.




Monitoring and evaluation of knowledge, skills and abilities is indispensable to a teaching and leaning process and is also one of the major tasks. Success in teaching and learning process depends on a right stance on the evaluation of knowledge (Amonashvili, 1995, pp. 364-371; Кlarin, 1994, p. 101; Rogers, 1994, p. 351 Albrehta, 2001, p. 158).

Key aspects of the evaluation plan that must be tailored include the questions the evaluation is to answer, the methods and procedures to be used in answering those questions, and the nature of the evaluator-stakeholder relationship (Peter H. Rossi, Mark W. Lipsey, Howard E. Freeman, 2004, p.61).

Evaluation is connected with the aims of teaching and learning. It is essential to remember that evaluation is not to ascertain the result, but to perfect teaching and learning. The process of teaching and learning is considered to be successful if students acquire abilities how to put knowledge into practice. Testing of the results of teaching and learning is necessary to make sure whether students have understood properly the notions, laws and regularities explained by the pedagogue, whether they have acquired and grasped the material overall.

The evaluation of the results of teaching and learning in orientated towards the improvement in results. That is why it is necessary to take into consideration the initial level of cognitive activity of each student to organize the process of acquisition (Krisko, 1999, p. 318; Talizina, 1998, p. 136).

Evaluation is often understood as giving a mark, but it is not the only way of evaluation. In pedagogy two types of evaluation have been distinguished: assessment and appreciation.

Assessment by giving a mark is the determination of the achieved result. Its basic function is to determine the changes in knowledge, abilities and mutual relationships, to make a comparison of the set aim and the achieved result. Assessment includes self – assessment, the assessment of the others and the assessment of a pedagogue (Shpona, 2001, p. 100).

Appreciation is verbal and descriptive evaluation. The aim of verbal evaluation is to improve, change and facilitate the process of further teaching and learning.

The students often consider the mark to be unjust because they do not know or do not understand the criteria of assessment. It is very desirable to supplement assessment with appreciation. Students very often consider appreciation more significant rather than assessment by giving a mark (Grigule and Silova, 1998, pp. 35-37; Melik-Pashayev and Novoyavlenskaya, p. 121; Eisner, 2002, p. 178). It is necessary to note that such a combination of two types of evaluation of creative works give the best results. The analysis of the experience of the evaluation of students’ artworks at Department of Art Daugavpils University testify to it.

The analysis of scientific literature (Renge, 1999, p. 73) and the experience of creative activity allow to ascertain that two types of artworks exist:

Type 1 - artistic works that are designed according to a certain plan (mainly academic artistic works) and that stimulate creative abilities of a student. The student demonstrates particular abilities in the perception of a task, the composition and the stylistic solution. This type corresponds with the stage of the developing stage of creative activity.

Type 2 – works that are created as if out the artist’s will. At the same time these works are also the expression of the artist’s nature. These are the works of art that are created without the intention of the author.  The artist might be unaware of this, revelation or inspiration can spring up simultaneously developing artistic masterhood.

Having analysed the development of creative activity from the point of the assessment of a creative work as well as the experience of pedagogical practice, we can acknowledge that only artistic works of type 1 are to be assessed in teaching and learning. In this case the students are required to accomplish educational tasks particularly.

The creative fulfilment of academic tasks or an innovative process viewed as characteristic to a person, which can be viewed in creative attitude of students towards the content and a process of education, which fosters a more effective acquisition of knowledge and skills. In this, creative activity process students demonstrate their ability to use knowledge in creative works (Cacka, Slahova, Volonte, Savvina, 2003). Creative activity particularly is a process that characterizes the student’s inner readiness to create works of art as well as develop creative abilities (Students, 1998, p. 244). In this conception both action and behaviour unite in creative activity. The action becomes creative if a student initiates this activity and deliberately and with enthusiasm converts it into reality (Alijevs, 1998, p. 12; Chehlova, 2002, p. 30).

Creativity may not only require motivation, but also generate it. Research has shown that when creative students are taught and their achievements are then assessed in a way that values their creative abilities, their academic performance improves (Stenberg, Lubart, 1999, p. 9; Policastro, Gardner, 1999, p. 214).

It should be noted that any evaluation should be connected with a specific task and a pedagogue should evaluate only the quality of a particular work to let every student prove his/her abilities. The easiness of the skills and abilities acquisition, tempo and stability as well as the elements of creativeness testify to students’ abilities. Now we shall dwell upon the features and characteristics of creative abilities of the students majoring in art in order to analyse the problem of the evaluation of creative activity more successfully.




The problem of abilities has been investigated in both pedagogy and psychology.  Abilities- an individual psychological property of a person that constitutes a ground for successful activity or a number of activities, irreducible to knowledge and skills but conditioning the easiness and rapidity of the acquisition of new ways and modes of activity (Zinchenko, 1996, p. 368).

Speaking about abilities of a person, a gift for a particular type of activity- maths, literature, art, sport etc. is understood. There are also such abilities that are necessary to fulfil many types of activity, for instance, intellectual abilities (Vorobjovs, 2000, p. 196). In connection with this, psychologists distinguish two types of abilities: general and special. General abilities usually manifest themselves in the process of the acquisition and fulfilment of many and various modes of activity. Special abilities – the abilities that manifest themselves in particular modes of activity and condition the peculiarities of their acquisition and fulfilment. Special abilities have got as many forms of manifestation as many are the modes of activity. Abilities are professional manifestations and abilities can be artistic, pedagogical or musical etc.

In conformity with the set aim, we shall dwell upon the development of artistic abilities that are necessary for the organization creative activity more successfully.

The structure of artistic abilities is complicated. Every concrete activity comprises the principal abilities and the auxiliary abilitiesuzin, 1999, p. 292). 

The distinguishing characteristics of the principal artistic abilities are the following:

l        A characteristic of creative imagination, perception and thinking. These provide the formation of an original composition;

l        A characteristic of visual memory. Visual memory particularly assists an artist to create and picture a vivid artistic object;

l        Emotional attitude towards the object that has been depicted;

l        Willpower of an artist’s personality that provide the realization of creative intentions.

The distinguishing characteristics of the auxiliary artistic abilities are the following:

l        A characteristic of a visual analyzer to reflect the texture of the perceived objects: softness, hardness and velvetiness;

l        Sensory-motor qualities connected with the actions of the artist’s hand that provide quick and precise acquisition of technical techniques.

The characteristics mentioned above are closely interconnected and only a harmonious combination of them provides a high level of the development of artistic abilities.

More successful and more early development of one ability leaving behind another abilities constitutes new prerequisites for the further development of the ability which more or less considerably and extensively emerges in a particular person (Rubinshtein, 1999, p. 542).

Many psychologists (Druginin, 1999, p. 348; Кuzin, 1999, p. 294; Rubinshtein, 1999, p. 535; Vorobjovs, 2000, p. 201) acknowledge that the development of artistic abilities is closely connected with the strengthening an inclination or a gift for fine arts. As a rule an inclination for any activity and an ability to perform this activity coincides and they both develops further in parallel.

An artist who possesses a high level of the development of abilities is considered to be a talented master.

The development of artistic abilities is possible in the course of the development of the acquisition and practical application of special knowledge, skills and acquired habits. So, having acquired the knowledge and rules of aerial and linear perspective, chiaroscuro, rules of floriculture, composition, having mastered the technical modes and skills of using artistic materials, the students simultaneously evolve their inclinations for fine arts.

One cannot identify abilities with knowledge, skills and acquired habits. Studies, in the course of which students majoring in artistic specialities acquire special knowledge, skills and habits, presuppose, first of all, permanent work. Work, practical activity – the most important preconditions and means of the development of artistic abilities (Yeryemkin, 2003, p. 267; Tjurin, 2001, p. 39).

            Investigations of scientific and methodical literature (Vygotsky, 1991; Druginin, 1999; Кuzin, 1999; Hibnere, 1998), the analysis of pedagogical practice allows to determine concrete criteria to judge about students’ aptitude for fine arts:

1.Ability  to render a similarity between the picture and the depicted object;

2.Ability to create an expressive composition;

3.Ability to think figuratively;

4.Ability to produce various ideas;

5.Ability to depict originally and non-standard;

6.Ability to contemplate, compare and see the most typical and characteristic features;

7.Ability to perfect decisions by adding details;

8.Ability to be able to work;

9.Ability to convey emotions in a work of art;

10.Ability to perceive the set problem adequately;

11.Ability to use the academic fundamentals of imagination;

12.Ability to use various artistic techniques;

13.Ability create a work of good technical accomplishment.

However, pedagogical practice reveals that not all abilities become apparent in a particular completed work. It depends on students’ aptitude and on a particular aim of an assignment. From all the abilities mentioned above there are such abilities that should definitely manifest themselves in any educational artistic task, for instance:

l        ability to use the academic fundamentals of imagination;

l        ability to create a work of good technical accomplishment;

l        ability to depict originally and non-standard

l        and others.

The development of all the abilities mentioned above leads to the perfection of creative abilities. It in its turn has a beneficial influence on the activation of a creative process.  Between creative abilities and a creative process there exist interconnections.

Scientists started to seek common characteristics of all kinds of a creative process as a result of attempts to develop a general theory of a creative process and creative abilities (Izard, 2000, p. 136; Landau, 2002, p. 25; Fontana, 1998, p. 115; Volkov, 1999, p. 208; Rozet, 1999, p. 539; Gardener, 1994, p. 276; Martindale, 1999, p. 138; Lubart, 1999, p. 141). It has been acknowledged more often that a process that constitutes the basis for all kinds of creative works is the same: a combination of elements with the purpose to gain a new quality and, afterwards, to search for the revelation and the selection of “significant” combinations. The difference is reduced to the difference in an idea. Now we shall elaborate on the analysis of some conceptions in this direction.

A widespread theory of a threefold process of creative work exists in psychology. That is expounded in A.Vorobjev’s work (2000, p. 144):  a preparatory stage, a corrective stage and an approbation stage.

Many scientists (Landau, 2002, p. 25; Fontana, 1998, p. 115; Martindale, 1999, p. 138) distinguishes four stages of a creative process: preparation, incubation, inspiration and verification.

Creative process has been substantiated in N. Vishnyakova’s work (1995, p. 158) where she depicts modelling and describes a creative process comprising five stages of creative abilities:

1.A creative act – presupposes the emergence of an idea and actualization of this idea; 

2.A creative informative field – information apprehension and processing proceeding to the formation of a new model;

3.A creative strategic process – searching, apprehension and modelling and  actualisation of  a strategy;

4.Creative technologies – a search for a tactic and the up building of the system of innovative technologies;

5.A creative result – the enforcement of results.

Such modelling is more complete and reveals more precisely the essence of a creative process. The analysis of pedagogical experience in work with students majoring in art specialities approves the model of the development of a creative process proposed by Vishnyakova.

Thus, when in the course of the organization of the process of teaching and learning all the conditions that facilitate the development of creative abilities are taken into consideration, the students’ creative activity will develop, improve and gradually proceed to a further stage, that is, a creative attitude of a person and the willingness to be engaged in creative activity independently.




The analysis of pedagogical literature confirms that the evaluation and the diagnostics of a person’s creative potential remains an extremely difficult task (Bogoyavlenskaya, 2002; Chehlova, 2002; Talizina, 1999; Tjurin, 2001; Vishnyakova, 1995). As well as the analysis of pedagogical practice of visual art reveals that each pedagogue has got his/her own principles of assessment. This is the reason why the students are assessed differently by different tutors and get different marks for the same accomplished assignment. 

The aims of teaching condition a particular programme of the types of cognitive abilities in each course of study and each its part. The aims of teaching comprises either the system of assignments that are to be accomplished in a particular course of study or the system of cognitive and creative abilities corresponding to these tasks. The aims of teaching give an answer to a question: what types of activity (what abilities) testify to the acquisition of knowledge. Thus, it is naturally to presume that not only special abilities that are specific for a particular course of study should be controlled, but also creative techniques of the accomplishment of a task. Control presupposes the acquirement of differential markers of each of the criteria.

At Department of Art Daugavpils University it was decided to compile the system of specially selected criteria (abilities) that need expertise and reflect the aims of teaching all courses of art most of all. Control of creative activity without these criteria cannot be substantiated.

48 teachers of art from different regions of Latvia were asked to distinguish the most significant abilities to accomplish an artistic task out of the 13 abilities (see the second subchapter of the paper). Every ability was awarded points on a 5-point scale. (5 points for the most significant ability).

The analysis of the results allowed to distinguish five the most significant abilities:

1.Creative approach (originality) (98%);

2.The solution to a composition  (95%);

3.The use of the academic fundamentals (colour scheme / the graphic solution) (92 %);

4.The quality of technical accomplishment (85%);

5.The adequate perception of an assignment (81%).

It should be noted that the abilities distinguished coincide with the five levels of the development of a creative process (see a model proposed by Vishnyakova):

1.The emergence of an idea - the adequate perception of an assignment;

2.Information apprehension and processing – the use of the academic fundamentals;

3.Searching, apprehension and modelling – the solution to a composition;

4.The creation of the system of innovative technologies – the quality of technical accomplishment;

5.The enforcement of results – a creative approach (originality).

These abilities are regarded as the criteria for the evaluation of creative works and are included in Table 1.

The table below had been worked out by M. Kopeikin, (a Dean at the International Institute of Applied Psychology in Riga) and supplemented by a Professor A. Slahova.


Table 1. The evaluation of creative works



The student’s name, surname

























The adequate perception of an assignment

The solution to a composition

The solution to colour scheme / the graphic solution

The quality of technical accomplishment

A creative approach (originality)




Deciphering of figures:

0 – complete incongruity;

1 – incomplete congruity;

2 – complete congruity.

Evaluating creative works 2 points are scored for the congruity of each criterion, 1 point is scored for incomplete congruity, 0 – complete incongruity. Total – 10 possible points. If the total score of points is less than 4, the work is not tested.

In Figure 1 work of student Elena Rudakova is shown.



Figure 1.

Drawing is appreciated by the following criteria:

l        Application of rules of perspective construction 2;

l        The solution to a composition – 1 (Concerning a composition, the composite decision would be better, if subjects of a still-life have been moved a little more to the right);

l        The graphic solution – 2;

l        The quality of technical accomplishment –2;

l        A creative approach – 2.


Total9 points.





Figure 2.

In the figure 2 you can see the photo of a process of drawing of a girl’s portrait, and in the figure 3 the drawn portrait of this girl by the student Galina Jansone is shown. The executed portrait is appreciated by the following criteria:

l        Similarity to the model – 2;

l        Application of rules of perspective construction – 2;

l        The solution to a composition – 2;

l        The quality of technical accomplishment –1;

l        A creative approach – 2.


Total   9 points.


Figure 3.


Evaluation and control should be understandable explained carefully to the students who should fully understand the criteria for evaluation of their works. The students probably might form their self-assessment basing on these criteria.

78% of 52 students questioned acknowledge the necessity to evaluate creative works and fully approves of the evaluation criteria mentioned above and substantiate it like that:

l        It is possible to evaluate the students’ abilities more fully.

l        The evaluation is objective.

l        The evaluation according to these criteria can be substantiated, the evaluation is fair.

l        It is possible to find out something more about the work, to focus on shortcomings.

Thus, the problem of scientifically approved norms of marking is topical. We cannot neglect this problem.


We have not elaborated on all the problems connected with scientific basis for assessment and evaluation of creative activity in education. It is clear though that the evaluation in any course of study must be the evaluation of the acquisition of all levels of expertise, special abilities and habits characteristic of a particular course of study.

Creativity develops when a personality is given full freedom to express thoughts and feelings. A creative personality can dare engage in ambiguous situations irrespective of fear, search for new ways, find new aspects in something that is familiar and congenial creating new emotional experience. Each of us possess these abilities to a higher or a lesser degree, but not each of us dares realize them because of a fear of failure or a possibility to remain unaccepted in the society (Landau, 2002, p. 23).

So further investigations will be conducted into an extensive analysis of the system proposed and its significance in teaching and learning and new ways of the perfection of this system will be searched.



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