PreK-12 Ed Eval TIG Week: Evaluation with Aloha in Work With Schools and Teachers by Mark Yu, Darienne Dey, and Natasha Saelua

Aloha kakou. We are Mark Yu, Darienne Dey and Natasha Saelua, researchers with McREL International based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. We are honored to share our lessons learned using the Evaluation with Aloha framework in our work with schools and teachers.

We learned about Evaluation with Aloha from the Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment-Hawai‘i (CREA-HI). The framework was developed to elevate indigenous paradigms in evaluation and offer a specific, culturally sustaining framework for working in Native Hawaiian contexts.

In our work in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific through the Regional Educational Laboratory in the Pacific, the framework has been an invaluable tool and guide to approach research, evaluation, and researcher-practitioner partnerships respectfully and humbly, and in service of supporting the rights of indigenous people to perpetuate their way of knowing and life and guide their own future. Below we summarize the key stages of the framework, highlighting key tenets of each stage. We end by highlighting our reflections about applying the framework in work with schools and teachers.

  1. The first stage, Pilina Ho‘ohana a me ka Hana Hilina‘i, involves building relationships and creating trust. Here, the role of the evaluator is one of a facilitator or guide in the evaluation process, thereby elevating the perspectives and voices of partners and communities impacted by the work. Further, there is stronger emphasis on values, relationships, and experiences over professional credentials.
  1. The second stage, Ho‘okahua, involves laying the foundation for the evaluation design and the instruments used to conduct the work. Here, priority is placed on stakeholder and community input and voice to guide the focus and context of the evaluation. Toward this end, the framework highlights the use of collaborative, participatory, developmental, and mixed method approaches, with the goal of elevating stakeholder and community voices and ensuring more comprehensive understanding.
  1. The third stage, Mo‘olelo, pertains to data collection and analysis, and involves the process of helping stakeholders and communities tell their story. To the extent feasible, community members should be included in the gathering and interpretation of data as they are ultimately the ones who will use and benefit most from the data.
  1. The fourth stage, Ho’ike, involves sharing the knowledge of the evaluation through reporting and use. Aloha in evaluation is a journey of building trust and respect, which culminates in how knowledge and implications of the work and findings are shared. To ensure a respectful evaluation process, reporting and use should be thought of as a shared responsibility and should maximize the benefits and minimize the risks to the stakeholders and communities impacted by the work.

We are grateful for the guidance and recommendations offered in Evaluation with Aloha. We believe it has provided us a greater opportunity to critically reflect on our work and connect more meaningfully with our stakeholders, communities and partners in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific. By applying the framework in our work, we are able to honor the cultural and lived experiences and practical realities of schools and teachers, support them in telling their story, build their capacity, and allow them opportunities to take ownership of the work. In the process, we’re able to build more trusting and respectful relationships as well as enrich the credibility and impact of our evaluation work and support.

Rad Resources

Want to learn more about the Aloha Evaluation Framework? Check out these other AEA365 blogs:

Curator’s note: This week’s AEA365 posts contain Hawaiian language words that use certain diacritical markings. We make our best efforts to include these markings to be as culturally and grammatically accurate as possible, however, these markings often display as question marks or boxes, and may display differently on different browsers and devices. For best readability we have omitted some of those marks here.


The American Evaluation Association is hosting PreK-12 Ed Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our PreK-12 Ed Eval TIG 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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