Cultural Responsiveness Self Evaluation Tool


Brooks, S., Braun, S., Backe, K., and Jones, C.V. (2020) Cultural Responsiveness Self- Tool for Outdoor School. Oregon State University Extension Service Outdoor School Program.…


This tool is part of a suite of self- tools developed by the Oregon State University Extension Service Outdoor Schools program to evaluate 5th- and 6th-grade outdoor school programs in the state of Oregon. While the tools are designed for outdoor education programs as part of public schools (or formal education), the creators of the tools they can be applicable to other formal, non-formal or informal contexts. 

The three self-evaluation tools include the following: 

  • Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool (IRSET): 
  • Cultural Responsiveness Self-Evaluation Tool (CRSET)
  • Special Education and Self-Evaluation Tool (SEASET)


The tool is presented as a set of three self-evaluation rubrics, one for each of three themes: 

Each rubric has between four and five characteristics and definitions that allow the evaluating stakeholders to qualify each characteristic as absent, emerging, and/or highly effective. An additional column provides space for you to record evidence or specific examples for the qualification(s) that you chose. A Cultural Responsiveness Report, Reflection and Improvement Plan template is provided to summarize results across all three rubrics, and to facilitate team reflection and discussion to strengthen your organization in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion.


This tool can be used in any type of program to strengthen its cultural responsiveness and effectively ground its work in equity, diversity and inclusion. 

When and how to use the tool

Programs are encouraged to use this tool as part of a regular evaluation cycle in which they evaluate, learn, and improve their programs. Cultural responsiveness is a continual learning and development process, and you may want to revisit this tool throughout the life of your program. 

The authors of this tool recommended six steps for conducting a culturally responsive self-evaluation:

  1. Assemble a team representing a variety of roles within your organization.
  2. Ensure that every member has a basic understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion as well as . Participate in a training together if needed.
  3. Individuals on the team read each characteristic and its definition (the far left column of each table). Estimate quality of alignment with that characteristic, circling “absent” “emerging” or “highly effective.” In the final column, provide evidence or example(s) for your choice.  
  4. Encourage team members to engage in reflection on an individual level on concepts related to equity, diversity and inclusion. Participate in safe self-evaluation.
  5. Discuss as a team which characteristics were absent, emerging and/or highly effective. Discuss how these results impact the students and communities you work with. 
  6. Complete the Cultural Responsiveness Report, Reflection and Improvement Plan. Celebrate the strengths and outline actions to improve cultural responsiveness. 

How to analyze

Use the “Cultural Responsiveness Report, Reflection and Improvement Plan” to review the self-evaluation.

  • Calculate individual team members’ ratings of each characteristic, which will allow you to see which characteristics are absent, emerging, and/or highly effective.
  • Spend time discussing the characteristics that you will prioritize for your program in order to be more culturally responsive. Think through the challenges and the to becoming more culturally responsive and how you will overcome those. Think through the ways you will better serve your with these goals. 
  • Use the improvement plan to outline the changes that need to occur in order to strengthen your organization in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion. Be specific about what needs to be done, who will be involved, and when you plan to implement them. 

What to do next

Don’t let your Cultural Responsiveness Improvement Plan just sit on a shelf. Be sure to engage the right people to activate the changes you’d like to see. Consider which additional stakeholders, community members or constituents should be involved in the improvement process. As you determine which characteristics of the rubric you will address, review and utilize these , put together by the Oregon team, for more direction forward. 

How to see if this tool would work with your program

This tool can be used for any program, system or individual that seeks to authentically engage in understanding how it can better center equity, diversity and inclusion, and subsequently implement changes designed to promote EDI.

Tool tips

There are several things to consider when engaging in evaluations focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. 

  • This work is ongoing, dynamic and can be challenging. Commit to do the work in order to better address the needs of your community. 
  • In order for this to work, you must create safe spaces for individuals to engage authentically and honestly. 
  • Recognize the dynamics within the evaluation team. 
  • Team members may not always agree on whether characteristics are absent, emerging or highly effective. The discussion that results from disagreements will help your organization become more culturally responsive. 
  • More tips on using this tool are available in the extensive tool guide created by Oregon State University Extension service.