LA RED TIG Week: Art Hernandez on Latina/o Evaluation – Fight or Flight

My name is Art Hernandez and I am a Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

I participated in one of the very early yearlong experiences as an AEA MSI Fellow and have served as the Director for several cohorts most recently this past year.   I serve and have served as evaluator and teacher of evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural responsiveness in practice especially in regards to measurement and assessment.   I am a member of the Indigenous, Multicultural and LA RED TIGs.

Lesson Learned: Cultural responsiveness is important for many of the reasons well-articulated in the AEA Statement and in numerous articles and presentations. However, besides all the reasons which have been promulgated, I have discovered that sometimes evaluation efforts are perceived by participants as having some degree of risk attendant either to the process, outcomes or implications or some combination of all three. Often Latina/o evaluators who come from similar cultural backgrounds can actually exacerbate this perceived risk resulting in the psychological response which is known as “fight or flight” which is characterized by resistance or non-engagement. 

Hot Tip: Cultural knowledge, respect, and real relationship are important to minimize the sense of risk and maximize the nature and quality of cooperation with the evaluation effort.   Latina/o evaluators should never assume cultural responsiveness as merely a matter of cultural familiarity, cultural heritage or facility with the language and instead understand and practice cultural responsiveness as a predisposition and relational action.

Rad Resources:

Applying Culturally-Responsive Communication in Hispanic/Latino Communities – Education Toolkit. Susan G. Komen (2014).

The 10 Largest Hispanic Origin Groups: Characteristics, Rankings, Top Counties – Pew Research Center: Pew Hispanic Center (2010).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “LA RED TIG Week: Art Hernandez on Latina/o Evaluation – Fight or Flight”

  1. Hello Art!

    Your article has provided valuable insight in regards to my current teaching practice. I have taught many different types of students, coming from all walks of life, cultures, countries and backgrounds. I enjoyed looking at your ‘rad resource’ link, ‘Applying Culturally Responsive Communication in Hispanic/Latino Communities’. By considering students’ perspectives on family, community, faith, etc., it can allow for a more appropriate evaluation to take place, as it’s crucial to incorporate these ideas not only in lesson delivery, but when analyzing students responses and progress in regards to the material being studied. Many times we teach and evaluate according to a curriculum, which is not recognizant of the students’ backgrounds and customs. As educators, it is our responsibility to take into account our students’ individual characteristics and perspectives. I’ve applied this mentality in regards to lesson planning; but hadn’t equally applied it to the evaluation process. Your ‘hot tip’ indicates that evaluators should apply their cultural knowledge of students as a predisposition and relational action, other than solely as a means to become familiar with them. This intrigued me, as it requires educators to change their approach and perspectives to fit their learners’ make-up, which I can identify with. You focus solely on one culture in particular- Latino students, however this idea can obviously be applied across the board in regards to all different cultures. One question I find myself asking is whether or not this strategy is possible when teaching in multicultural classrooms? The reality in many classrooms today is that students come from various cultural backgrounds. How can teachers as evaluators provide an equative evaluation strategy for all students, while considering their different beliefs, customs, etc.? Taking culture into consideration, this can be a difficult task for any evaluator- are the students being assessed equally and fairly? Are more leniencies being given to one student based on their cultural background over another? How do we determine students’ abilities to understand material as cognitive or cultural or both?

    Thank you very much for sharing your ideas and insights, as it has definitely made me think more about evaluation in regards to cultural perspectives, and I will keep this in mind when administering future evaluations.


    -Jessica Petit

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