LA RED TIG Week: Wanda Casillas Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) and Diverse Latino Communities

I’m Wanda Casillas with Deloitte Consulting, LLP and am also Chair of Communications for the newly formed LARED Topical Interest Group. As a practitioner of culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) I have been wrestling with the question of what it means to be responsive to Latin@ populations specifically. Many of us that are Latin@ evaluators have been asking ourselves, “How are principles and tenets of CRE relevant to Latin@ populations? And what else do we need in our toolbox to conduct valid, respectful evaluations in a Latin@ context?”

Thinking around CRE to date has been critical to progressing the field and spurning innovative, meaningful discourse on the inclusion of culture and context in evaluations. However, few Latin@ theorists have helped to shape thinking in this area that is inclusive of our various communities’ values and needs. This post is really a call to action to encourage rising Latin@ evaluators to critically question what it means to practice culturally responsive evaluation in our communities. Specifically, how do we make the existing CRE approach and way of thinking specific and relevant to diverse Latin@ communities?

Lessons Learned: Every cultural community is unique. We cannot group all Latin@ communities under one category when there are countless cultural differences among groups like Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Puerto Ricans, etc. For that matter, we should not group all cultural minorities into one category and determine a one-size-fits-all evaluation approach. We need a way of thinking about evaluation that is adaptable among contexts but prescriptive enough to be helpful in practice. That may mean creating multiple adaptations of CRE principles into several approaches that better fit specific Latin@ communities.

Rad Resource: For a comprehensive look at culturally responsive evaluation practices and framing checkout The 2010 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation, Chapter 7: A Guide to Conducting Culturally Responsive Evaluations available online for free at: This chapter provides a great birds-eye-view of compiled CRE practices, non-specific to any particular community.

Rad Resource: One of my favorite books on the topic of critical race theory and LatCrit (Latino Critical Theory) is: Race Is… Race Isn’t: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education This book can help push our thinking on CRE into an area of what it means to be responsive, specifically, to Latin@ communities.

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.

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