AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

CAT | Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation

Hello! My name is Omar J. Salaam. I’m a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership at University of South Florida, and I plan to defend my dissertation this current semester of Spring 2018. As part of the MIE TIG’s week on AEA 365, I have written a poem about the themes unearthed within the AEA Race and Class Dialogues.

Prose

I’ve always been known as the one with good diction

Never as the one who would fathom writing fiction

Now here I sit

Trying to come up with some s_it

But the more I work on each verse

The more I feel I’m only thinking in reverse

Now I’ve come up with something I believe will please

Regardless of my recognition that its reality in 180 degrees

When my White counterpart and I were introduced to an audience for the first time

It was my words they focused in on as opposed to treating him as sublime

Later, when my White counterpart appeared on stage with a woman equal to the task

It was her words they automatically accepted, and him who they insisted to ask

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

It’s now them getting pulled over, for no reason other than driving while White

The greatest democracy that ever existed is so just and so fair

There’s no need for marching, kneeling and demonstrating at games or anywhere

And while we’re on the topic of how equal this world is

Let’s not forget how fair capitalism is

Well over half the world’s wealth is divided evenly over half the world’s population

And those who have the most, give the most not only in total summation

The world is so full of peace and love

That genocide, and war are never even thought of

Racism, homophobia, and xenophobia, are words that do not exist

In an alternate world where they do, I’m sure they must be pissed

My genre is not fiction but for this moment I’ve taken a tryst

I only hope I’ve made some points that most have not missed

As I think of those who write fiction recognizing they are pros

I’m not ashamed that I am not one of those

This took every inch of effort from my brain to my toes

As I hope I got my message across writing in prose

 

Hot Tip:

This poem uses proposed fiction as a venue to reveal existing realities unseen to those blinded by privilege. The intention here is to challenge readers to acknowledge the fictions they’ve created in their own work to justify evaluative practices. Evaluators should consider the various privileges that exist and how their privilege effects the evaluation and evaluation participants.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Fatima Zahra

My name is Fatima Zahra, an evaluator and educator from Bangladesh. Having spent over six years evaluating various public interventions and policies in education, health and agriculture, I am currently enjoying teaching research methodology and education development at Penn. During my time in the field, I learned about ethical evaluation practices, which align closely with existing work in critical and culturally competent evaluation.

 

Hot Tips:

These tips are especially relevant for those who live in the Global North and research/evaluate socio-economic and health-related issues in the South.

 

  • Listen carefully: Regardless of your research background or orientation (quantitative or qualitative), find a way to truly listen and observe. Ask: “Who has constructed my knowledge about the program and its effectiveness”? Listen to map your understanding of the program according to each stakeholders’ perspective. Usually, program participants know more about program efficacy than anyone else. It’s important to be responsive to challenges with language, dialects, and accents to ensure you capture an accurate representation of participants’ experiences. Do not hesitate to seek help and provide compensation for assistance you receive.

 

  • Check your privilege: Despite many research skills we learn in graduate school and through practical training, what really makes for an effective evaluator in a foreign country is knowledge of our inherent biases, positionality and limited knowledge of the culture. Successful evaluators are humble, when interacting with children, youth or adults from underserved communities, not sharing their privilege.
  1. Be honest about whether your research will benefit participants in the long term.
  2. If the research does not benefit the community, do not hesitate to revisit and revise the evaluation questions and design. New knowledge of the community might require rehashing research questions and methodologies with support from your center/mentor/institution.
  3. Ask whether the questions you ask are informed by your biases or observations from working with involved participants.
  4. Find out what questions are of relevance to the community’s long-term wellbeing.

 

  • Be respectful: Often we forget that research participants owe us nothing. The time they spend with us answering (at times tedious) questions is a gift. Be respectful of participants’ willingness to engage in the evaluation by removing the burden of participation as much as possible. For example, if a focus group is scheduled around dinner, consider providing a meal or compensate participants if they have to leave their jobs or families to participate.

It may take a while to get all of this right the first time. However, these tips will come handy if you want to make a real difference in the lives of the people you work for/with in low-income countries.

Rad Resources:

Babones, S. (2016). Interpretive Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences. Sociology, 50(3), pp.453-469.

Symonette, H. (2004). Walking pathways toward becoming a culturally competent evaluator: Boundaries, borderlands, and border crossings. In M. Thompson-Robinson, R. Hopson, & S. SenGupta (Eds.), In Search of Cultural competence in evaluation: Toward principles and practices. New Directions in Evaluation, 102, pp. 95–110.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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We are Monique Liston, PhD. and Leah Peoples, PhD., evaluators that work in Urban Education. This blog continues the conversation from yesterday about the debt educational institutions owe to youth who have been marginalized. Today, we’ll focus on orienting our work as evaluators as a part of those same educational institutions. In other words, evaluators’ work — the questions we ask, the evaluation we design, the way we collect data, how we regard our stakeholders – play a critical role in education decisions. The recent Race and Class Dialogues call for us to be more critical and equitable in our roles as evaluators.

In our experience, many evaluators express interest in being more equitable but there’s always a “but” that follows those expressions. These “buts” are often ways we protect power imbalances, ensure the historically marginalized remain in the margins, and exacerbate the debts we owe to them. For example, at the most recent AEA convening evaluators made comments like, “We would really like to do more equitable work, but we can’t get our philanthropists interested” or “We would like to do more culturally responsive work, but we don’t have the time.” These types of statements affirm the evaluators have time for and institutional support to maintain oppressive, marginalizing evaluation work, but not the resources to be equitable. As a result, the status quo prevails. We must identify ourselves as part of institutions with the power and capability to disrupt this way of thinking and pay back the debts we owe.

Hot Tip: Have your own Race and Class Dialogue amongst yourself and your team.

Make a payment to the debt owed by facilitating your own Race and Class Dialogue: get a small journal for yourself and everyone on your team. Make time to reflect at least 15 minutes (without distractions) every day on the work you did. Ask yourself: What did I do that was equitable today? Why didn’t I do more? Review the journals collectively with your team at the end of the week or every two weeks. Do you notice any patterns? This is a great opportunity to evaluate yourself: As a team, are we doing enough? How do we know? Can we do better? Why or why not? Assign someone to take notes during this discussion.

Next, schedule a meeting for one or two issues at a time to brainstorm and research how you can do better; make sure meetings sustain deep conversations that move beyond the superficial. Be sure to use resources written by women, people of color, and other historically marginalized groups. Assume that the answer to every issue is “equity can be done here” and discover how to make it happen. Finally, evaluate the extent to which you and your team are using the solutions you discovered as a reflection in your journals. Below are additional resources that may provide some guidance:

Rad Resources:

Use AEA’s Public eLibrary to find presentations that address race and class in evaluation.

Lee, K. (2012). The Importance of Culture in Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Evaluators.

Mertens, D. M. (2009). Transformative research and evaluation. New York: Guilford.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings, I am Frances Carter-Johnson, an Education Data Scientist responsible for evaluation, data analysis and building data analytic capacity within the National Science Foundation’s Division for Human Resource Development in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

To continue to move the Race and Class Dialogue forward, I want to take this opportunity to highlight alumni of AEA’s Graduate Education and Diversity Internship (GEDI) program who’s careers uniquely apply culturally responsive evaluation learned from the GEDI program. In celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the GEDI program, several AEA panels highlighted GEDI leaders, directors and alums. I’m excited to focus on unique links between the Race and Class Dialogue series and the current professional roles of a few GEDI alumni. Their experiences are ones that we can all consider as we all work to move the Race and Class dialogue and efforts forward in our professional and personal lives.

Hot Tip:

Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) principles were applied throughout the Race and Class Dialogue and are critical to the evaluation community’s universal efforts to expand, improve and institutionalize evaluation into diverse organizations and environments.

Race and Class Lessons from the EVAL17 GEDI15 Alumni Panel:

  1. Tools, such as geospatial mapping, can be used to provide culturally responsive evidence for decreasing institutional and individual biases associated with race and class. Nichole Stewart, GEDI Alum from cohort 8 illustrated this in her talk, Mapping Equity in Educational Facilities Planning. Dr. Stewart, currently serves as Director of Facilities Planning for Baltimore City Public Schools where she uses a culturally responsive perspective to plan for public school facilities, including developing mapping tools to examine facility investments through an equity lens.
  1. Intentional focus on race and class is important to institutionalizing evaluation domestically as well as internationally. Neva Pemberton, GEDI Alum from cohort 6 and currently the International Chief of Education Planning for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, discussed the successes and obstacles in building a culture of evaluation within the education sector in the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Pemberton’s training in CRE, additional training with organizations such as UNESCO’s Institute of Education Planning, and intentionality towards relevant race and class issues for her environment are allowing her to influence education policies and practices aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development goals and to spread this influence to other nations.

Some of the GEDI15 Alumni Reflections Panel Participants (from Left to Right): Saul Maldonado, Brandi Gilbert, Jessica Johnson, Frances Carter-Johnson, Lisa Aponte-Soto, Chris St.Vil, Nichole Stewart, Alison Mendoza Walters

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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We are Monique Liston, Ph.D. and Leah Peoples, Ph.D., and we are evaluators that work in Urban Education. We have a two part blog post dedicated to breaking down the debts owed to historically marginalized people.

The conversations on the “achievement gap” permeate critical dialogues about race in the field of education. This discourse limits our collective opportunity to address how internalized, institutional, ideological and interpersonal oppression have severed our deepest connections to one another — our ability to dignify each other as human beings. Our racialized identities marginalize us from one another, yet our pride – particularly within the MIE – allows us to see marginalization as an opportunity for resistance. Our goal is to liberate us all from how race, class, gender, and sexuality oppression stifles us, but we have to be in the position to share what we have learned to make our experiences a process of healing and restoration. Educators need to witness and examine this process as they develop their capacity to teach the next generation.  In our role as evaluators, we have the opportunity to disrupt the pervasive and persistent nature of oppression through evaluation design, practice, analysis, and presentation. Here are two lessons learned and one hot tip (shared in Part 2) that have helped us to do this urban educational contexts.

  1. Challenging achievement gap discourse. Gloria Ladson Billings (2006) gave us language to challenge achievement gap discourses. Achievement gap discourses problematize brown and black children as lacking or deficient before addressing the generational harm that racist, classist, sexist and homophobic institutions have caused. Ladson-Billings puts forth the “educational debt” as an opportunity for us to focus on what the institutions owe to children color as opposed to how children of color are unable to cope with the system. Evaluators have the power to change the dialogue in all aspects of the evaluation process.
  2. Recognizing quality education as a debt owed to marginalized and historically oppressed communities. With Ladson-Billings guidance, as individuals within the system we are constantly attempting to pay down a debt owed. The urgency, of which Martin Luther King, Jr. is famous for identifying is critical for educators to understand and apply within their classrooms, school buildings, and administrative districts. The system created a debt and our labor of love, time, and skill must serve as payment on that debt. Each moment in which we do not provide love, time, and skill that addresses the needs of those harmed by the system we are compounding interest — causing the debt to increase and preventing the young people owed from ever getting their justice — a balance paid in full. With this in mind, evaluators in urban education have an inherent goal with every evaluation. To what extent does this program, initiative, or opportunity pay down the debt owed to children of color?

Rad Resources:

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the achievement gap to the education debt: Understanding achievement in U.S. schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3–12.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Melvin Hall

Greetings, I am Melvin Hall, Professor of Educational Psychology at Northern Arizona University, a recent AEA Board Member, and moderator of the recently completed dialogue series. I am pleased to have been asked to kick off this week of posts from the MIE TIG.

Rad Resource #1: An Evaluation Voice from the Past

For years, I have read the AEA365 blog. I have often found information that fills a gap in my knowledge about how to get something done in evaluation, where I previously hadn’t a clue that the issue was even important. I would like to send you back to the evaluation profession’s past to a Rad Resource that is just as timely today as when originally penned by Lee Cronbach and Associates in 1980. Lee would undoubtedly smile if he knew “Toward the Reform of Program Evaluation” would be cited as a Rad Resource in 2017, but that is my contention. In our quest for the new and practical, the field has become estranged from important wisdom of the past.

The first of 95 thesis statements from that book says, “Program evaluation is a process by which society learns about itself”. This underscores the clarion call from the AEA Dialogues, that evaluation and evaluators take up more space in the public sphere where institutionalized sources of potential racism and classism should be identified and interrogated. The call is to have evaluative thinking become more prominent in public debate and policy reviews, an appeal to evaluators to identify and engage the important societal issues embedded in work we do. Who is better situated to engage those issues and promote societal reflection, dialogue, and change?

We know that inequity based upon gender is forcefully imposed by the powerful, who have bent institutions to their will, making them accomplices in hiding abuses and marginalizing victims. It is institutional power that silences victims and wipes away culpability; the same is done with racial animus and classist disdain.  Social institutions normalize this behavior, obscuring its damage, particularly from the perpetrators.

Rad Resource #2: Excuses, Excuses

This week consider how evaluators unwittingly play into the power of the status quo, and examine when and where our roles in this should end. Another Rad Resource–Racism without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva–exposes the excuses we often use to explain why the institutions we serve are not perpetuating inequity, or if they are, why it is not our place to intervene.

Lesson Learned: In the end, society will benefit if we use our skills to hold up a mirror so that it can learn about its collective self. Through posts this week the MIE TIG will highlight relevant lessons learned and examined through a variety of lenses. The online discussion forum for the Dialogues is open and available, if this week of posts prompts you to want to join the discussion.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Koolamalsi njoos (Hello Colleagues/Friends).  I’m Nicole Bowman (Mohican/Lunaape) a culturally responsive (CR) and Indigenous Evaluator (CRIE) at the WI Center for Education Research (WEC and LEAD Center) and President/Evaluator at Bowman Performance Consulting, all located in Wisconsin.

In 1905, the President of UW, Charles Van Hise, provided the foundation for what has become fundamental to how I practice evaluation – The Wisconsin Idea:

“The university is an institution devoted to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge…in service and the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the masses…until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every family of the state” (p.1 and p.5).

My work as an Indigenous and culturally responsive evaluator exemplifies the WI Idea in action.  Through valuing, supporting, and resourcing culturally responsive and Indigenous theories, methods, and activities, I’m able to not only build organizational and UW’s capacity to “keep pace” (p. 3) in these areas but am empowered to be “in service” to others and not “in the interest of or for the professors” (i.e. self-serving) but rather as a “tool in service to the state…so the university is better fit to serve the state and nation” (p.4 and p.5).  My particular culturally responsive and Indigenous evaluation, policy, and governance expertise has brought university and Tribal governments together through contracted training and technical assistance evaluation work; has developed new partnerships with state, national, and Tribal agencies (public, private, and nonprofit) who are subject matter leaders in CR research and evaluation; and extended our collaborative CR and CRIE through AJE and NDE publications, AEA and CREA pre-conference trainings and in-conference presentations, and representation nationally and internationally via EvalPartners (EvalIndigenous). We’re not only living the WI Idea…we are extending it beyond mental, philosophical, and geographic boarders to include the original Indigenous community members as we work at the community level by and for some of the most underrepresented voices on the planet.
Rad Resources: 

During this week, you will read about how others practice the WI Idea. As evaluators, we play an integral role in working within and throughout local communities and statewide agencies. Daily, we influence policies, programs and practices that can impact the most vulnerable of populations and communities. Practicing the WI Idea bears much responsibility, humility, and humanity.  We need to be constant and vigilant teachers and learners.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating The Wisconsin Idea in Action Week coordinated by the LEAD Center. The LEAD (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination) Center is housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison and advances the quality of teaching and learning by evaluating the effectiveness and impact of educational innovations, policies, and practices within higher education. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from student and adult evaluators living in and practicing evaluation from the state of WIDo you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Art Hernandez and I am a Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

I participated in one of the very early yearlong experiences as an AEA MSI Fellow and have served as the Director for several cohorts most recently this past year. I serve and have served as evaluator and teacher of evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural responsiveness in practice especially in regards to measurement and assessment.

Lesson Learned: The negative feelings associated with “difference” and the desire to live in a “normal” world with “normal” people often limits our desire to be in contact much less significantly interact with members of different cultural groups. Among other things, the lack of opportunity for significant experience/interaction and the associated feelings results in stereotyping as a means of coping and explaining.

Hot Tip: It is essential to have a significant “relationship” with the people who are involved in the activity being evaluated. This means developing and establishing significant relationships and doing so for its own sake rather than merely as a device to establish “cultural responsiveness”. In order to have any type of meaningful relationship it is important first to have a good sense of self – knowing your values, biases and “world view” and to be open to any differences in those attitudes and beliefs you might encounter in others. Finally, it is imperative that you reserve judgment and risk making “respectful mistakes.” Respectful mistakes are misunderstandings based in honest interest and founded in honest positive regard for the other person(s). 

Rad Resource: Cultural Competence and Community Studies: Concepts and Practices for Cultural Competence

The Stranger’s Eyes describes a community project and the differences in perspectives between the “benefactors” and those who were to benefit. A link provides access to a reflection guide of questions to guide the consideration of the presented case study. Provided by SIL International.

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=230 Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings. My name is Tiffeny Jimenez and I identify first as a Community Psychologist (CP). I am also an Assistant Professor of the Community Psychology Doctoral program at National Louis University in Chicago. As a CP, I inherently very quickly identify inequalities, injustices, and potential for collaboration where others may be more likely to see only conflict, and from this perspective, evaluation is a particularly salient and necessary skill set. How else might we judge whether social justice is achieved? It is towards this aim that I take on all inquiry and action. This year, I have had the privilege to be one of this year’s MSI Fellows where I have worked with colleagues towards gaining an in-depth interdisciplinary perspective on the state of our understanding Cultural Competence across Social Work, Health Psychology, Sociology, and Community Psychology. I will speak to the contribution of CP to this focus area.

Lesson Learned: The overall CP framework facilitates cultural competency and humility in all acts of professionalism with explicit emphasis on how we think and why we act in certain ways within a socio-cultural ecological context. CP views cultural competency as cross-cultural awareness assuming we all are interdependent and come to the table with diverse cultural lenses that influence action. Cultural competency is a critical consciousness beyond the acquisition of skills; it’s a way of being in every day interactions that allows for a clearer understanding of one’s own personal place in the world, personal biases, and an understanding that multiple perspectives are present at any one time.

The emphasis of CP is on promoting social justice and identifying the root causes of social problems by changing conditions so diverse populations can thrive individually within a shared geography. Much of the literature on cultural competency centers around: providing in-depth localized case examples of how CPs engage as equal peers with others to address individual and social problems from a culturally grounded perspective; describe adaptations of community programming to meet the needs of underserved populations; discuss the importance of using methods that capture historical context and the voices of less dominant perspectives; emphasize the promotion of dynamic processes within community-level systems rather than individual-level outcomes; and advocate understanding the cultural landscape that undergirds the various policies and practices that perpetuate inequalities and maintain the status quo. Main concepts: power, privilege, structural inequality, decolonizing methodologies, organizational culture, critical consciousness, liberation, indigenous psychologies, divergent cultural practices, and ecological sustainability.

Rad Resources: For more information on being culturally competent, see “Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice” (2015). Particularly Chapter 4 by Kien Lee titled “Effecting Social Change in Diverse Contexts”. The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice also addresses cultural competency in CP practice from a global perspective: http://www.gjcpp.org/en/article.php?issue=16&article=77

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=230 Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Greetings from Washington, DC! My name is Tamarah Moss and I am an Assistant Professor with Howard University School of Social Work and an AEA MSI Fellow with experience in program monitoring and evaluation, as well as teaching graduate practice evaluation courses. When I started to work on this AEA365 blog entry, my thought process began with more questions than answers. In raising the issue of cultural competence in relation to evaluation in social work and broader behavioral science fields, the ideas of cultural humility and reflective practice come to mind. Both ideas incorporate a commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique. Hot Tips provided below are to reinforce or enhance your current practice of culturally competent evaluation.

How does an evaluator ensure cultural competence, as a general practice in evaluation? To help me think through these concepts and eventual application of cultural competence in evaluation and my overall approach to culturally competent evaluation, it was important to reference the American Evaluation Association’s statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation, as a good place to start. The idea that “evaluation is not culture free” and also that “cultural competence is not a state at which one arrives; rather, it is a process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. It is a sensibility cultivated throughout a lifetime” are important considerations.

As part of my overall approach to evaluation and ensuring cultural competency, statements of professional and accrediting organizations creates an environment of ongoing integration. The Council on Social Work Education guides social workers in terms of evaluating practice and utilization of a multidisciplinary theoretical framework (http://www.cswe.org/File.aspx?id=81660 The International Federation of Social Workers, highlights evaluation global standards for education and training in the social work profession (http://ifsw.org/policies/global-standards). The National Association of Social Workers frame cultural competence in evaluation as the ability to “ensure effectives in serving and engagement of culturally diverse client groups” (p.13). See: NASW Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. 

 Moss 1

 

Author of Conceptual Framework: Tamarah Moss, PhD, MPH, MSW; Graphic Designer: Shavon D. Minter

Hot Tips:

  • Utilize the conceptual framework of integrative culturally competent evaluation in social work or other behavioral sciences, as illustrated in Figure I below.
  • Determine what the statements on cultural competence and evaluation are for your professional and accrediting organizations. If there are none available, draft a statement with colleagues in the field using AEA’s statement as a framework.
  • Integrate you’re your professional organizations, including the American Evaluation Association’s Statement on Cultural Competence actively into your evaluation practice.
  • Include cultural humility and self-reflective practice into your evaluation approach, as an opportunity to check power imbalances between yourself as an evaluator and the communities, organizations, and the entities being served.
  • Create and support ways to incorporate the perspectives and cultural context of those being served, as part of your evaluation approach.

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=230 Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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