Cultural Competence Week: Lisa Aponte-Soto and Leah Neubauer on Culturally Responsive Evaluation 101

We are Lisa Aponte-Soto and Leah Christina Neubauer, members of the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation (The Statement) Dissemination Working Group. Aponte-Soto teaches at DePaul University, and is an independent consultant. Neubauer is based in DePaul’s MPH Program.

The Statement reminds us that cultural competence is essential to all evaluation theory and practice. Being a culturally responsive evaluator requires a conscious effort of self-awareness and acknowledgement of our biases and the assumptions that we make about cultural groups. It also requires a willingness to attend to unique contextual dimensions and perspectives of a community, which requires open communication and dialogue. It is also a responsibility to contribute to the greater good of society. The following will help you assemble an evaluation team to apply CRE practices.

Four steps for building CRE practices:

  1. Attend to assumptions and context: Examine both cultural assumptions and conduct an analysis of the historical context, sociopolitical changes, and environmental strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Establish a CRE team and identity the team resources: Assemble a team that values and can attend to the unique cultural context of the community served and is inclusive of the key stakeholders and consumers of the evaluation as active agents.
  3. Apply CRE action steps to the evaluation plan: Work with stakeholders to develop, design and implement culturally sensitive and appropriate instruments.
  4. Disseminate evaluation results: Share findings of the program’s influence and impact with all stakeholder groups.

Becoming cultural “competent” is not a prescriptive goal. It is simply a way of being that requires a lifelong process of interactions and learning from experiences. The tips below will assist you in getting started.

Top 3 tips for personal growth and development:

  1. Practicing mindfulness and being present. Attend to what you say to others or even in how your body language may be inappropriate or insensitive.
  2. Journal your thoughts, perspectives, feelings and experiences. Reflect on these and revisit them to assess progress.
  3. Give yourself stretch assignments on your automatic processes once a week by listing 5 assumptions about someone you interacted with on a given day.

The following resources will help you continue to engage in developmental exercises.

Rad Resources:

Explore the Implicit Association Tests that allows you to check on your automatic assumptions your past-experiences, the media, and other cultural norms.

Visit the Teaching Tolerance website for resources on building greater understanding of diverse cultural groups among youth.

Gauge your emotional intelligence by taking the Body Language Quiz and attending workshops or reading books by The Wright Leadership Institute to hone your social and emotional intelligence to tune in to your negative assumptions, the root sources of these, and how to resolve these.

This week, we’re diving into issues of Cultural Competence in Evaluation with AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.