Testing Generative Rather Than Convergent Thinking with Open-ended Tasks

Testing Generative Rather Than Convergent Thinking with Open-ended Tasks

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Testing Generative Rather Than Convergent Thinking with Open-ended Tasks

This paper considers the use of open-ended assessment tasks that test generative thinking as distinct from closed tasks that test convergent thinking. The notions of generative and convergent thinking are defined. It is argued that generative thinking is as useful a concept for analysing and understanding test items as the ubiquitous notions of problem solving and critical thinking. Open writing test prompts that contrast with convergent writing tests, and open-ended short answer questions that contrast with closed short answer (and most multiple choice) questions are examined. Examples of open assessment tasks that test generative thinking are drawn from the Writing and the Short Answer Question components of the ACT Scaling Test.

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