CP Week: Ann Price on Incorporating the Values of Community Psychology Into Evaluation Practice

Hello! My name is Ann Price, the owner of Community Evaluation Solutions, Inc., an evaluation firm that focuses on program development and capacity-building evaluation. I always tell people that evaluation is what I DO, but a community psychologist is what I AM. In this 365 I would like to discuss community psychology’s values and how I incorporate them in my evaluation practice.

Hot Tip – Community Psychology Values: Community psychologists view individuals within the context of their communities and the larger society. One of my long-standing clients is an after-school program in rural Georgia. The community’s on-time graduation is very low, about 56%. We could simply assume that the school is failing. But an important contextual issue is some local families do not value education – parents and grandparents give some students the message that they have done well with a 9th grade education and encourage their children to drop out. In order to improve the graduation rate, we need to address this cultural issue. Community psychology also values social change through research and action. We worked with a local nonprofit to update Georgia’s juvenile justice code and another initiative to protect heir property owners from sale of their property without their knowledge. Many of these owners are minority owners unaware of their rights. Our evaluation work values participatory action research in which we view share control with stakeholders and together generate knowledge and experience for collective use. In our practice we start every evaluation by identifying key stakeholders and forming an internal evaluation team that works with us throughout the life of the evaluation from design through data interpretation and communication of results.

Rad Resource – The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA): SCRA, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association, is an international organization devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action.


Hot Tip – Collaborate with other Community Psychologists Within AEA: Last year the Community Psychology Topical Interest Group (TIG) became the newest AEA TIG. Twenty-five community psychologists came together for its first meeting and quickly got to work organizing (we enjoy community organizing). This past year the TIG launched its website and hosted 16 sessions at Evaluation 2012 in Minneapolis.

Rad Resource: Visit the AEA Community Psychology TIG website at http://comm.eval.org/CommunityPsychology/Home/.

Hot Tip: Calling all Community Psychologists in AEA and evaluators in SCRA. This year at our business meeting we discussed how we can foster cross-collaboration between our two professional homes. Within AEA we discussed growing the TIG, developing more sessions at AEA, sponsoring a field trip during AEA to a community program and perhaps hosting a charity drive at AEA. Within SCRA we discussed promoting AEA as a place where community psychologists might find professional development and training opportunities. Join us next year at the Community Psychology TIG meeting and stay tuned for more opportunities to collaborate!

We’re celebrating all this week with our colleagues in the American Evaluation Association Community Psychology Topical Interest Group. The contributions all week come from CP 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.

3 thoughts on “CP Week: Ann Price on Incorporating the Values of Community Psychology Into Evaluation Practice”

  1. Vidhya- Thank you for your comment to the blog. I apologize I did not see it sooner. I did not mean to make a value judgment on this particular community’s valuing of education, though I can see how it may have sounded that way. The words values and value themselves are so value-laden- I should have chosen a different word. You are absolutely correct in the historic use of education as means of punishing particular groups of people. There are many socio-cultural reasons for this community’s poor graduation rate and we are mindful of that in our work. Unfortunately, the word limits of the blog format do not allow us to go into such details.

  2. Viewing individuals in the context of their community and society at large would require contextualizing why many groups in the U.S. do not “value education” and addressing factors not inherent to specific cultures but inherent in a society that has historically used education to disenfranchise specific cultures. Let us not forget that it was once illegal to teach a slave to read. Let us also not forget the history of boarding schools and associated sexual, physical, emotional, and I would argue intellectual abuse of indigenous peoples. Let us also not forget that many immigrant and refugee communities may value education but be entirely unfamiliar and thus uncomfortable with educational institutions. Many say that they don’t get involved in their children’s schools because they themselves are uneducated and so they leave issues of schooling up to the teachers and others they believe are the experts.

    A larger community and societal perspective requires asking how the U.S. educational system has systematically excluded several groups, including poor whites, such that they have concluded that schooling is unnecessary and possibly even harmful (in terms of threatening cohesiveness and local norms).

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