Fostering Students' Creativity and Critical Thinking

What it Means in School

In series:Educational Research and Innovationview more titles

Published on October 24, 2019

Creativity and critical thinking are key skills for complex, globalised and increasingly digitalised economies and societies. While teachers and education policy makers consider creativity and critical thinking as important learning goals, it is still unclear to many what it means to develop these skills in a school setting. To make it more visible and tangible to practitioners, the OECD worked with networks of schools and teachers in 11 countries to develop and trial a set of pedagogical resources that exemplify what it means to teach, learn and make progress in creativity and critical thinking in primary and secondary education. Through a portfolio of rubrics and examples of lesson plans, teachers in the field gave feedback, implemented the proposed teaching strategies and documented their work. Instruments to monitor the effectiveness of the intervention in a validation study were also developed and tested, supplementing the insights on the effects of the intervention in the field provided by the team co-ordinators.What are the key elements of creativity and critical thinking? What pedagogical strategies and approaches can teachers adopt to foster them? How can school leaders support teachers' professional learning? To what extent did teachers participating in the project change their teaching methods? How can we know whether it works and for whom? These are some of the questions addressed in this book, which reports on the outputs and lessons of this international project.


Executive summary
Creativity and critical thinking: From concepts to teacher-friendly rubrics
Eleven signature pedagogies related to the fostering of creativity and critical thinking
Creativity and critical thinking in everyday teaching and learning
Teacher professional development plans
Teacher attitudes and practices around creativity and critical thinking
Effects of the project on students’ outcomes and development of survey instruments
Technical Annex
Country team notes13 chapters available
Brazilian Team
Dutch Team
French (CRI) Team
French (Lamap) Team
Hungarian Team
Indian Team
Russian Team
Slovak Team
Spanish (Madrid) Team
Thai Team
UK (Welsh) Team
US (Montessori) Team
US (Vista) Team
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A portfolio of rubrics was developed during the OECD-CERI project Fostering and Assessing Creativity and Critical Thinking Skills in Education. Conceptual rubrics were designed to clarify “what counts” or “what sub-skills should be developed” in relation to creativity and critical thinking and to guide the design of lesson plans and support discussions about those skills in the classroom. Domain-general versions are applicable across subjects, and domain-specific derivatives use the language of taught subjects. Assessment rubrics articulate levels of progression or proficiency in the acquisition of creativity and critical thinking skills. Teachers can use them for formative or summative assessment. Students can use them to self-assess their own progress in these domains.


Comprehensive domain general rubric Class friendly domaing general rubric Blank rubric template    
Class friendly assessment rubric creativity Class friendly assessment rubric critical-thinking      
Class friendly science rubric Class friendly maths rubric Class friendly music rubric Class friendly visual arts rubric Class friendly language arts rubric



Lesson plans

As part of their participation in the OECD-CERI project Fostering and Assessing Creativity and Critical Thinking Skills in Education, experts and teachers across teams in 11 countries developed a bank of lesson plans with a focus on creativity and critical thinking in different subjects areas. These examples aim to inspire teachers internationally by making visible the kind of approaches and tasks that allow students to develop their creativity and critical thinking while acquiring the content and procedural knowledge across different domains of the curriculum. These lesson plans are publicly available as open educational resources.



My region past and future The vinland Map Smart clothes Digging for Stories


Language and literacy 

The 50 word mini epic Do you believe in dragons



London Bridge is Falling Down Mathematics for a new Taj Mahal How happy are we Create a lesson for the year above



Musical poetry Create a movie Score
Discover the sounds of your school SECONDARY Shoes as musical inspiration
Discover the sounds of your school PRIMARY  



The Mystery of the Disappearing Water Should we replace our power station Rivers full of Water When is a Mammal not a Mammal
Forces and Motion  What Controls My Health Evaporative-Cooling


Visual arts

Symbolic Self Portrait Graffiti-The-Duke-of-Lancaster Graffiti art Styles, iconography and message Graffiti Perceptions and historical connections
Curate your own exhibition The world through the eyes of colour How can everyday objects and living beings become art  


Web Annexes - List of rubrics

Web Annex - List of Rubrics - Chapter 2: CCT: from concepts to teacher-friendly rubrics