Lack of creativity in schools puts students at a disadvantage, a report says.

A new survey reveals that creative teaching and innovative learning are stifled by an over-reliance on testing and assessment, forcing teachers to stay inside a restrictive curriculum that will limit students’ ability to excel in the future workforce.

The study, sponsored by Adobe, states that “transformative change” is needed to inject a creative boost into the current education system, and that despite a worldwide demand for creativity and creative thinking, today’s students are not prepared to enter a workplace that requires inventive thinking.

“Currently, as students move from K-5 to grades 6-12 and on to higher education, creativity is increasingly treated as a specialized skill,” said Tacy Trowbridge, worldwide manager of education programs at Adobe. ”Educators and parents see that the demand for creativity and creative thinking is growing – to solve complex problems and to drive future economies – yet students are less prepared to lead the innovation of tomorrow.”

(Next page: Statistics from parents and educators)

In, the U.S., parents and educators:

  • Believe that fostering creativity in schools will be important to future economies (90 percent of parents; 87 percent of educators)
  • Said that creativity in schools will require schools to work in new ways (87 percent of parents; 86 percent of educators)
  • Said educators need more tools and techniques to teach creativity (87 percent of parents; 85 percent of educators)

According to U.S. educators, the greatest barriers to creativity in schools include:

  • An education system that it too reliant on testing and assessment (21 percent)
  • A lack of proper resources (14 percent)
  • Educators are restricted from straying outside the curriculum (12 percent)

The greatest barriers according to U.S. parents include:

  • An education system that is too reliant on testing and assessment (25 percent)
  • Educators are restricted from straying outside the curriculum (16 percent)
  • Educators are ill-equipped with tools and techniques to teach creativity (11 percent)

A majority of U.K. (17 percent), German (17 percent), and Australian (15 percent) educators said that their current education curriculum is the greatest barrier to teaching creativity in schools.

U.S. educators, when asked why they struggle to incorporate creativity into the curriculum, identified a lack of resources (56 percent), an education system that does not value creativity (54 percent), other priorities (30 percent), a lack of time (28 percent), or said teaching creativity is the role of other educators (30 percent).

Forty-five percent of U.K. educators, 51 percent of Australian educators, and 47 percent of German educators said incorporating creativity is the role of other educators. A lack of resources was the next most-cited barrier, identified by 37 percent of U.K. educators, 44 percent of Australian educators, and 36 percent of German educators.

A majority of survey participants said they believe the role of creativity in education will increase over the next 25 years.

U.S. educators said the most important steps to boosting creativity are providing tools and training that enable educators to teach creativity, making creativity integral to the curriculum, and reducing mandates that hinder creativity.

The Adobe study includes 4,000 adult responses from the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Australia: 2,000 educators in kindergarten through college and 2,000 parents of kindergarten through college students.