Measuring Aptitude through Creative Products

This brings me to the idea of the ‘creative portfolio’ as a central part of a student’s transcript. Everyone is beginning to recognize that curiosity and creativity are more important attributes than a mere facility for a particular subject; yet except for narrowly defined art schools, few institutions even consider an applicant’s creative output. This is doubly wrong. First, it implies that only ‘art’ is creative — a view that is provincial and limiting. Science, engineering, and entrepreneurship are equally creative.

Second, if we fail to take a serious look at what students have created on their own, above and beyond the lessons and tests, we miss an opportunity to appreciate what is truly special about them. More than any data, grades, or assessment, someone’s actual creative product is the best testament of his or her ability to create from scratch, to make a solution out of an open ended problem.

Salman Khan, "One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined"

We completely agree with this philosophy and that is why Media continues to be the centerpiece of our applicant management system. When we started SlideRoom in 2006, we were completely focused on simplifying the difficult task of submitting and reviewing creative materials online. We have since grown to include forms, references and the traditional evaluation tools. In the beginning, art schools were dominant among our clientele. Next came other artistic departments like music, theater, drama, and architecture. Currently, we are seeing small (but growing) interest among other kinds of disciplines not traditionally considered artistic.

In growing to be a more complete admissions system, SlideRoom has chosen to not become like the entrenched ones that have historically existed. Rather than becoming more generic in our feature set, we are sticking with our current path because we foresee other disciplines becoming more art-school-like in the future. In other words, we believe this emphasis on evaluating qualitative skill will become more mainstream.

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