Greetings, I am June Gothberg, Ph.D. from Western Michigan University, Chair of the Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG and co-author of the Universal Design for Evaluation Checklist (4th ed.). Historically, our TIG has been a ‘working’ TIG, working collaboratively with AEA and the field to build capacity for accessible and inclusive evaluation. Several terms tend to describe our philosophy – inclusive, accessible, perceptible, voice, empowered, equitable, representative, to name a few. As we end our week, I’d like to share major themes that have emerged over my three terms in TIG leadership.
- Representation in evaluation should mirror representation in the program. Oftentimes, this can be overlooked in evaluation reports. This is an example from a community housing evaluation. The data overrepresented some groups and underrepresented others.
- Avoid using TDMs.
- T = tokenism or giving participants a voice in evaluation efforts but little to no choice about the subject, style of communication, or any say in the organization.
- D = decoration or asking participants to take part in evaluation efforts with little to no explanation of the reason for their involvement or its use.
- M = manipulation or manipulating participants to participate in evaluation efforts. One example was presented in 2010 where food stamp recipients were required to answer surveys or they were ineligible to continue receiving assistance. The surveys included identifying information.
- Don’t assume you know the backgrounds, cultures, abilities, and experiences of your stakeholders and participants. If you plan for all, all will benefit.
- Embed the principals of Universal Design whenever and wherever possible.
- Utilize trauma-informed practice.
- Increase authentic participation, voice, recommendations, and decision-making by engaginge all types and levels of stakeholders in evaluation planning efforts. The IDEA Partnership depth of engagement framework for program planning and evaluation has been adopted in state government planning efforts across the United States.
- Disaggregating data helps uncover and eliminate inequities. This example is data from Detroit Public Schools (DPS). DPS is in the news often and cited as having dismal outcomes. If we were to compare state data with DPS, does it really look dismal?
Disaggregating by one level would uncover some inequities, but disaggregating by two levels shows areas that can and should be addressed.
- Tailor your reporting and dissemination efforts to be engaging and accessible by all stakeholders. The following video from the Denver Art Museum shows both an engaging and accessible (option for closed captioning) presentation of the evaluation findings.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week of aea365 hosted by the DUP TIG. We’d love to have you join us at AEA 2017 and throughout the year.
The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG (DUP) Week. The contributions all week are focused on engaging DUP in your evaluation efforts. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.