Resource 

POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE OF COLLEGE STUDENTS: A SIMPLE GROUP TEST

Abstract:

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EXAMPLE RESOURCE: Students often come to class with little to no awareness of the specifics of the world of politics operating around them. This exercise asks students, without warning, to name the major bills that have been passed in their state’s General Assembly. From past experiences conducting the exercise, students are only able to name a few out of the hundreds of new bills. The lack of political knowledge displayed by students can be connected to numerous sociological theories, concepts and research findings, especially in the fields of political sociology and public policy. Examples of connections, learning objectives and assessment tools are all provided within the article.

Details:

Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
Author(s):
Timothy Madigan 
Date Published:
4/29/2011 
Subject Area:
Public Policy 
Class Level:
any 
Class Size:
Any 
Language:
English 


Usage Notes:

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The exercise has been used at a 4-year regional public university mainly serving rural students straight out of high school. Results might differ at top level universities located in urban areas. Political science students were not any better at knowing the details of new state policies. When...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Learn to identify three levels of political knowledge and involvement of citizens in the United States
Assessment 1:
Sociologists have studied the political involvement of Americans and they have identified three levels of political involvement. Name and describe each of the levels.
Goal 2:
Recognize weaknesses in the basic premises of functionalist theory through research findings on lack of political involvement in the United States
Assessment 2:
Compare and contrast the functionalist and conflict approaches to explaining the lack of political knowledge and participation among Americans.
Goal 3:
Learn about C. Wright Mill’s concept of the power elite
Assessment 3:
Describe the main ideas of the concept of the power elite. Which two theorists’ footprints are evident in the power elite concept?

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Political Awareness Class Excercise.doc
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