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

Jan/11

11

Frances Carter on Evaluating the Race Matters Toolkit and Resources for Student Evaluators

I am Frances Carter, a Public Policy PhD Candidate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. As a member of AEA’s 2009-2010 cohort of GEDIs (pronounced JEDI; acronym for Graduate Education and Diversity Internship), I developed an evaluation plan for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Race Matter’s Toolkit. The Race Matters Toolkit (RMT) was designed to address and produce racially equitable results and opportunities for all children, families, and communities. The toolkit is based on assumptions that race matters in creating opportunities for all and that embedded racial inequities present the greatest barrier to equitable opportunities and results. By using the RMT, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s goal is to help organizations make the case, shape the message, and do their work from the perspective that race matters. After being used for several years, there was a need to evaluate the RMT and its work.

Top 5 Lessons Learned in Developing the RMT Evaluation Plan:

  1. Evaluations in large non-profit and government organizations are often conducted by external evaluators and managed by evaluation teams within the organization.
  2. Research methodologies learned in academic environments need to take a more practical approach when applied to evaluations in results driven environments.
  3. Various evaluation styles (i.e. culturally relevant and responsive evaluation and participatory evaluation) were used to develop a comprehensive RMT evaluation proposal.
  4. Standard evaluation tools such as logic models, theories of change, and evaluation proposals are critical for new evaluators both to understand the program being evaluated and to develop appropriate evaluation planning.
  5. Work in academic, non-profit, government, and private organizations is often, and should continue to be, integrated to address social problems.

Hot Tip: When I meet current or future graduate students interested in evaluation, I point them to AEA’s programs for developing new and diverse evaluators. These include the GEDI program, AEA’s Type I and II Travel awards, and the various Topical Interest Groups within AEA, specifically the Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation TIG. After participating in the Pipeline Program in 2007 (which serves students local to the conference locale and is being revamped for 2011), presenting at Evaluation 2008 and 2009 conferences, and being a GEDI, I gained valuable evaluation experience. I feel completely aware of and engaged in the AEA community as well as national and local evaluation communities with understanding for how evaluation supports addressing important social problems in the United States and internationally.

Rad Resource: The Annie E. Casey Foundation has made the Race Matters Toolkit available for free online download. Please notify the Foundation at racematters@aecf.org if and when you use the toolkit to assist with the RMT evaluation efforts.

Rad Resource: RMT component and evaluation information are available in AEA’s eLibrary.

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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