Community-Based Research (CBR) with No Parent Left Behind

In fall 2012 and spring 2013, Rachel Parroquin’s Community Based Spanish – Language, Culture, and Community classes worked with community partner, No Parent Left Behind (NPLB). NPLB’s executive director, Joyce Long, co-taught the month long CBR unit. Long presented students with information about the organization, taught them the basics of qualitative coding and methodology to ensure inter-rater reliability, and guided them through data analysis and synthesis. Students provided the language skills and cultural knowledge needed to process data in Spanish. They coded and analyzed qualitative data collected by NPLB for program assessment purposes, listening to audio files, reading transcripts, and subsequently writing up the summaries and conclusions. They presented their findings to NPLB staff, community members, and invited faculty. Their work was included in public presentations on campus, and helped inform subsequent work done by Long and NPLB.  

The project was included in Community-Based Research: Teaching for Community Impact edited by Mary Beckman and Joyce Long. Emily Geiger-Medina, a student in the fall section contributed her voice to the case study written by Prof. Parroquin.

Two excerpts from Emily’s reflection follow:

“Through the course readings and lectures, I initially learned about general issues facing the entire Latino community; in the CBR unit, I was then able to fully understand how those trends applied in a more individualized and personal perspective.  I strongly believe that simultaneously working from both perspectives helped me gain even more from this course.  I learned how community work benefits those being helped and those doing the helping, and I learned to appreciate the Latino culture.” (p.114)

“Being involved in this CBR project was an incredible experience. […]  I was shown that statistics represent real people facing real difficulties.  Moreover, I learned how widely experiences vary. Too often Latinos are thought of as one large community and are grouped together on a large scale.  Although there were significant similarities between stories and experiences in the data, there were also noteworthy differences.  Participating in the research project reinforced a lesson I had learned in my introductory statistics course:  Aggregated data can be useful in understanding trends, but individual stories must not be ignored.  I was also able to develop an understanding of where the findings I read about were coming from.  It was one thing to read about how Latino parents were less likely to understand the educational system, but it was entirely different to hear a mother personally explain her current understanding in the audio file.”  (pp. 116-117)

Parroquin, R. with E. Geiger‐Medina. (2016). Applying the POWER Model in a Second Language Class.  In M. Beckman & J. Long (Eds.), Community‐Based Research: Teaching for Community Impact. Sterling, VA: Stylus.