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Expanding Measureable Student Learning about Congress through an In-Class, Effective Mock Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  12 e) None of the above True or False Questions (worth one point each of a 100-point exam): 1. Logrolling is a practice of Congresspersons agreeing to support each other’s legislation. 2. The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate are very powerful persons who help make committee assignments and control the flow of legislation through the chambers. 3. Riders must be added to bills during the caucus stage and must address the same issue that the original bill language addresses. 4. As many as 95% of all proposes bills never make it out of congressional subcommittees “alive”. 5. There is absolutely no way to end a filibuster. Essay Question (worth 30 points of a 100-point exam and a 500-point course total): How is power distributed in Congress? How is power gained by congresspersons? What are the titles of the primary leaders in each chamber? What do these leaders do? What are some tactics that congresspersons use when trying to pass laws? Describe, too, the President’s role in the legislative process. What are all of his options for each bill? Drawing upon your knowledge of the policy-making cycle, what would you, the average citizen, do if you wanted to get a law passed? How would you begin? Why? The essay question grading rubric is attached to this paper as Appendix #3. I collected scores from these exam questions for 521 students from five semesters (Fall 2005 through Fall 2007). The sample consisted of those sections of introductory political science which I taught – usually 3 to 4 sections per semester, with 30 students enrolled in each section. Available data were limited and no control group was readily available, since I am the only instructor on my campus using the mock congress exercise in my classes. I considered using my online classes as a control group, but the differences in attrition and student motivation characteristics between traditional classroom classes and online classes, would skew the results. Both the percentages displayed below and the performance on the essay portion of the exam have provided enough initial assessment data to suggest that students are performing at an overall high level for questions related to the outcomes this exercise addresses; or that indeed learning is occurring.

Authors: Sabo, Joanna.
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12
e)
None of the above
True or False Questions (worth one point each of a 100-point exam):

1.
Logrolling is a practice of Congresspersons agreeing to support each other’s legislation.
2.
The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate are very powerful persons
who help make committee assignments and control the flow of legislation through the
chambers.
3.
Riders must be added to bills during the caucus stage and must address the same issue that
the original bill language addresses.
4.
As many as 95% of all proposes bills never make it out of congressional subcommittees
“alive”.
5.
There is absolutely no way to end a filibuster.
Essay Question (worth 30 points of a 100-point exam and a 500-point course total):
How is power distributed in Congress? How is power gained by congresspersons? What are the
titles of the primary leaders in each chamber? What do these leaders do? What are some tactics
that congresspersons use when trying to pass laws? Describe, too, the President’s role in the
legislative process. What are all of his options for each bill? Drawing upon your knowledge of
the policy-making cycle, what would you, the average citizen, do if you wanted to get a law
passed? How would you begin? Why?
The essay question grading rubric is attached to this paper as Appendix #3. I collected
scores from these exam questions for 521 students from five semesters (Fall 2005 through Fall
2007). The sample consisted of those sections of introductory political science which I taught –
usually 3 to 4 sections per semester, with 30 students enrolled in each section. Available data
were limited and no control group was readily available, since I am the only instructor on my
campus using the mock congress exercise in my classes. I considered using my online classes as
a control group, but the differences in attrition and student motivation characteristics between
traditional classroom classes and online classes, would skew the results. Both the percentages
displayed below and the performance on the essay portion of the exam have provided enough
initial assessment data to suggest that students are performing at an overall high level for
questions related to the outcomes this exercise addresses; or that indeed learning is occurring.


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