Ellis Paul Torrance Essay

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Ellis Paul Torrance, known as the “Father of Creativity,” was an American psychologist whose primary contribution to the field of education was establishing a quantitative measure of creativity that could be used to identify students for special educational programs, such as those for the gifted and talented. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) firmly established the attitude that intelligence quotient (IQ) score is not the sole means by which to measure intelligence.

Upon completion of his doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, Torrance began a teaching career that spanned from 1957 to 1984; the majority of his career was spent at the University of Georgia, where the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development is now located.

The TTCT involves a set of simple measures of divergent thinking and other problem-solving skills scored on (1) fluency, or the total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus; (2) flexibility, or the number of different categories of relevant responses; (3) originality, or the statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects; and (4) elaboration, or the amount of detail in the responses.

The use of the TTCT in identifying students for gifted and talented programs has become widespread because of the response of many district and state programs toward using a variety of methods to identify students, particularly those from underrepresented populations whose true aptitude may not be accurately represented by IQ score alone.


  1. Millar, G. W. (1995). E. Paul Torrance, “The creativity man”: An authorized biography. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  2. Raina, M. K. (2000). The creativity passion: E. Paul Torrance’s voyages of discovering creativity. Stamford, CT: Ablex.
  3. Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development: http://www.coe.uga.edu/torrance/index.html

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