The Values

The eeVAL framework is guided by six core eeValues co-created by a of EE practitioners, evaluators, funders, and academics and informed by a culturally responsive and (CREE) framework (Hood, Hopson, & Kirkhart, 2015). As with all of eeVAL, these core values are intended to be a “living” project that evolves as becomes more inclusive of the voices and experiences of persons who currently hold least among us (e.g., youth, practitioners, non-degree holders, members of non-dominant cultural groups).

Equity In Motion

In EE , is an aspirational value for both evaluation processes and program results. Groups and individuals differ in their to create and enjoy healthy communities, and evaluators must acknowledge this disparity. Different life experiences lead to different ways that people make sense of the world. Evaluations have to influence which viewpoints are reflected in decision-making processes and through resource allocation. Persons operating in an evaluation role need to design studies and protocols that recognize , and the reality of white and . On the back end, reports should resist simplistic stereotypical representations of people. , such as funders and supervisors, who commission and oversee evaluations have an obligation to establish and support policies and practices that contribute to equitable processes and outcomes by design (e.g., require grantees to employ people who share lived experiences in communities of interest, allow time for relationship building, support research designs that are relevant and responsive to stakeholders, invest in longer-term capacity-building for organizations and communities).

Authentic Engagement

Authentic is essential to EE evaluation. It requires humility and sensitivity, recognizing the inherent strengths and wisdom present in all evaluative contexts. NAAEE Community Engagement Guidelines remind us that authentic engagement is oriented toward collaboration, inclusivity, capacity-building, and civic action that contributes to healthier communities and equitable outcomes for all. Authentic engagement includes persons impacted by the program directly and indirectly (e.g., program providers, program participants, non-participants, supervisors, funders), paying special attention to issues of power and privilege. Ideally, participants are involved in evaluations as team members, designers, decision-makers and implementers of the evaluation (rather than as data sources only). This means setting aside , time, and -centered support systems to build trusting, respectful, and genuine relationships to ensure multiple voices are incorporated in meaningful ways. Given their day-to-day demands, practitioners may wrestle with the pressure to slow down the process for systemic change to happen. Funders can support this process by providing capital, creating connections, or supporting the equitable involvement of stakeholders. 


Deep Curiosity

eeVAL strives to increase our understanding of what it means to create and achieve healthier communities for all. Yet, “healthier” can mean different things to different people. Even words such as “environment,” “evaluation” and “education” mean different things to different people. As such, we must question whose truths are represented, measured, and elevated for consideration, and what kinds of knowledge are valued as a result. We acknowledge and celebrate the process and products that come from deep curiosity. Deep curiosity incorporates multiple perspectives and methods of inquiry rooted in the cultures, histories, and traditions of the local context where an takes place. This means setting aside , time, and space for -centered processes to develop data collection tools to reflect deep curiosity. Funders can support this value by providing funding, time, and creating connections to make this possible, and be open to the different of impact.

Lifelong Learning and Critical Reflection

EE advances a commitment to lifelong learning and continuous critical reflection. This means continuous growth at both the individual and organizational level that require humility, self-reflection, personal growth, and . Areas of growth for an individual include examining and difference (inclusive of race, , gender, age, , social class, , language, and educational level). Everyone carries implicit bias and has a role in addressing how their bias influences evaluations. Areas of growth for an organization include establishing policies that allow individuals and the organization as a whole to question assumptions and practices. Organizations that make a commitment to critical reflection celebrate approaches to new ideas and avoid “right and wrong” thinking. Funders can contribute  to support a diverse and inclusive learning network that cultivates transformative potential for organizations, programming, staff, communities, and the .

High Quality Evaluation

High quality EE program balances sociopolitical, ethical, and . encompass attention to the political, social, historical, cultural, and organizational factors that influence evaluation processes and outcomes. Ethical considerations encompass careful attention to the use and impact of evaluation, especially as it relates to persons who hold the least among us (e.g., youth, practitioners, non-degree holders, members of non-dominant cultural groups). Technical considerations encompass the entirety of planning, implementation and reporting typically present in any evaluation. High quality evaluation is culturally responsive and central to all programming. Funders can advance high-quality evaluations by focusing on values as measured outcomes and proposing funding cycles that allow grantees to attend to ethical considerations over and above the mechanics of an evaluation.

Collective Evaluation

Individually we know some things, collectively we know a lot. allows for learning to be shared beyond organizations and networks of organizations to convey many processes, stories, and impacts. As a result, stories and impacts are amplified to backbone support organizations, those in related fields, funders, and those considering entering the field. Collective evaluation means the journey is part of the learning. In this spirit, collective evaluation draws on multiple forms of knowledge, and allows for different approaches, outcomes, forms of measurements. Collective wisdom and evaluation efforts will benefit and strengthen environmental education for all. Funders can host convenings and run requests for proposals to help grantees aspire to and co-create collective evaluation networks and processes. Together, organizations and networks commit to critical reflection while demonstrating the positive impacts of our collective EE efforts.

Contributor Acknowledgement: Charissa Jones, Luciana Ranelli, Spirit Brooks, Jean Kayira, Karyl Askew, Libby McCann, Charlotte Clark, Liz DeMattia, and Noelle Wyman Roth

Critical Review and Comment: Steve Braun and Rachel Szczytko

Next in your journey, we recommend visiting the eeVAL Processes page.

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