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Chicagoland Evaluation Association Week: Humility in Evaluation to Address Disparities by Brad Krueger

Welcome to The Chicagoland Evaluation Association Week on AEA365! This week’s postings reflect the diversity of our Local Affiliate members and their work, using a lens of cultural responsiveness evaluation with various types of communities. We are excited to share some of our projects along with lessons learned, hot tips, and rad resources from our projects. 

Casey Solomon-Filer, Vice President, and Asma Ali, Past- President

Brad Krueger

Hi AEA! My name is Brad Krueger and I am an evaluation consultant living in Chicago. I am so excited to share with you during Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA) week!

I grew up in Minnesota, where the average individual is one of the healthiest in the country. However, as many of us know, if we dig into the ‘average’ we see steep disparities, specifically across racial groups, with Minnesota having one of the widest divides in the nation. I often think about what this means for myself as an evaluator. Much of the theories and tools of our field have helped create a healthy average individual, often with a focus on raising a single success metric such as the overall graduation rate or overall physical activity increase. 

It certainly isn’t new to think about redefining what success is or focusing on equity or digging into our data behind the average. However, I think we often redefine, and refocus, and dig, and then go back to using our same old tools and methodologies. We disaggregate our program outcomes and uncover disparities and seek to explore them further through focus groups, for example, but may fail to consider how our evaluation tools themselves perpetuate inequities.

What does it look like to do evaluation differently? I don’t have an answer yet but here are some things I have been thinking about, and I welcome further input!

  • How can we hold our expertise with humility? How can we present our tools, methods, and recommendations with open hands to be used by those leading the change?
  • Who may have more informed questions to ask of the project or data than me? How can I prepare the data to empower those questions to be asked and investigated?
  • How can evaluators serve as a bridge between programs/organizations and funders? How can we advocate for appropriate use of evaluation on both sides?
  • What does methodological innovation look like? How can we reimagine those tried and true methods to better serve the community? 

Rad Resources

I hope others will consider how evaluation can challenge, rather than maintain, the status quo. Please join the conversation by commenting below!

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from CEA 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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