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

TAG | cultural compeetence

Hello, my name is Diane Rogers and I am a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Evaluation at Western Michigan University (WMU) and a secondary mathematics teacher. My work in evaluation focuses on education and social justice, so naturally I was excited to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Dr. Rodney Hopson during his visit to WMU.

As a teacher and school improvement chair in an urban school district, I became quickly frustrated with my, and others’, lack of knowledge about using systematic inquiry to make decisions. It seemed as though decisions for school improvement were made for convenience, maintaining the status quo, or because someone had a feeling that something would work. As my school went through the restructuring process, I saw that evaluation could be part of that solution. Yet, in a school full of diverse students and needs, evaluation without cultural competence and adherence to professional standards will not help to ameliorate the complex issues of the educational system. The importance of the concepts of cultural competence and professional standards to our work as evaluators are two of the lessons that Dr. Hopson’s visit highlighted

Lesson Learned: As part of the visiting scholar series at WMU, Dr. Hopson facilitated a discussion with The Evaluation Center staff about the need for and application of AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation (http://www.eval.org/ccstatement.asp). I left the meeting with a renewed understanding that cultural competency is not a checklist of knowledge and skills that an evaluator can accomplish. Rather cultural competence is a process that requires reflection, learning, dialogue, and more reflection throughout one’s life. For me this process began by exploring my various societal labels and unpacking how those identities impact my worldview, language, and life ways.

Lesson learned: I was privileged to attend a panel discussion of the Program Evaluation Standards (PES) between Dr. Hopson and Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam. (View the video here: http://vimeo.com/33177056) I gained a great deal of insight into the standards from hearing Dr. Stufflebeam’s account of the history of the PES and Joint Committee and Dr. Hopson’s experience in revising the PES. Both scholars communicated the importance of standards to our profession and the need for all evaluators to not only adhere to the standards but also participate in professional conversations about the meaning and application of the standards. It is not enough to own a copy of the PES; you have to read, process, and apply the information throughout your work.

Rad Resource: View a summary of the Program Evaluation Standards here: http://www.eval.org/evaluationdocuments/progeval.html

All this week, we’re highlighting posts from colleagues at Western Michigan University as they reflect on a recent visit from incoming AEA President Rodney Hopson. 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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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