How to Make the Shift to Equitable Evaluation



  • Equitable evaluation takes a lot of personal work. I went into this thinking I had a good understanding of equity issues and how I interact with the world. But I was wrong. Dismantling inequities takes constant learning. You must challenge yourself to be uncomfortable and confront your own implicit biases. In short, there is no separating your personal self from your professional self.
  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. I can’t offer you a checklist to follow to achieve equitable evaluation. Incorporating this lens and equity considerations throughout your work requires an iterative approach.
  • Learning is an action. Building awareness of implicit bias and structural racism makes you more aware of how these issues intersect with evaluation and our work with each other and clients. And this awareness if the first step in starting to change.
  • It takes a team. Going through this process and engaging in these conversations as a team increased the rapport and trust among our team members. It forced us to consider different perspectives and experiences as people shared their viewpoints.
  • We must have humility in our field. As evaluators, we are trained to be experts. We are hired to be experts. But applying an equity lens to our work forces us to let go of being the expert all the time.


  • Who initiated this evaluation?
  • Who is (and isn’t) involved in decisions about the evaluation?
  • Whose voice is the loudest in the room? Who is not talking?
  • Whose priorities does the evaluation reflect?
  • Who has ownership of the data? Who doesn’t?
  • Whose voice is prioritized in the data collection? Whose isn’t?
  • Are data being collected in a way that values multiple ways of knowing?
  • Who is interpreting and making sense of the findings? Who is providing recommendations?




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