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American Government Across Time, Space, and Location
Unformatted Document Text:  12 Jennings, 1968; Rodgers, 1973; Sigel and Hoskin, 1981, Bachman, 1969; Westholm, Lindquist and Niemi, 1990.) This design was intended to limit test fatigue by not including as many items as Niemi and Junn, while increasing content validity by including more than a handful of questions. In part, political knowledge includes factual items in four key areas: foundations of American Government, system inputs, institutions, and public policy (Niemi and Junn). Thus, much of the political knowledge scale was created around questions from these four content areas. The first 14 multiple choice questions for this study were modified from a test bank that accompanies a popularly used text for American Government 101. 1 The text of choice, written by a well-known political science scholar (Patterson, 2006), is not unlike other political science texts. Therefore, the assessment tool questions are general enough that is should be expected the same topics are covered in other similar texts for American Government 101. Previous research at JALC on the political knowledge section of the assessment tool was conducted in Spring, 2005. From these results, it was identified that the number of questions were excessive and justified limiting the number of questions used for the final instrument used in this study. As a result, the researcher categorized the questions based on level of difficulty as identified by the mean percentage of pre-test scores. These categories were easy, moderate, and difficult. 2 The questions selected for this study were chosen within the four sub categories of foundations, inputs, institutions, and public policy issues similar to the format of the text that embodies a political systems theory for understanding American Government. 3 1 See Shapiro for a discussion of how using test bank questions from popular introductory text increases external validity (2004:175). 2 In this study, response options were decreased from four or five options to three options. 3 Three questions were added in the JALC Spring 2006 assessment to help measure the campus general educational goals. The policy section of the 2005 assessment was heavily weighted toward foreign policy, so one of those questions was replaced with a question about education funding. . The other two questions concern processes: voter turnout and opinion polls – therefore, instead of three questions for this area there are five.

Authors: Bryant, Jane.
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Jennings, 1968; Rodgers, 1973; Sigel and Hoskin, 1981, Bachman, 1969; Westholm, Lindquist
and Niemi, 1990.) This design was intended to limit test fatigue by not including as many items
as Niemi and Junn, while increasing content validity by including more than a handful of
questions.
In part, political knowledge includes factual items in four key areas: foundations of
American Government, system inputs, institutions, and public policy (Niemi and Junn). Thus,
much of the political knowledge scale was created around questions from these four content
areas. The first 14 multiple choice questions for this study were modified from a test bank that
accompanies a popularly used text for American Government 101.
The text of choice, written
by a well-known political science scholar (Patterson, 2006), is not unlike other political science
texts. Therefore, the assessment tool questions are general enough that is should be expected the
same topics are covered in other similar texts for American Government 101. Previous research
at JALC on the political knowledge section of the assessment tool was conducted in Spring,
2005. From these results, it was identified that the number of questions were excessive and
justified limiting the number of questions used for the final instrument used in this study. As a
result, the researcher categorized the questions based on level of difficulty as identified by the
mean percentage of pre-test scores. These categories were easy, moderate, and difficult.
The
questions selected for this study were chosen within the four sub categories of foundations,
inputs, institutions, and public policy issues similar to the format of the text that embodies a
political systems theory for understanding American Government.
1
See Shapiro for a discussion of how using test bank questions from popular introductory text increases external
validity (2004:175).
2
In this study, response options were decreased from four or five options to three options.
3
Three questions were added in the JALC Spring 2006 assessment to help measure the campus general educational
goals. The policy section of the 2005 assessment was heavily weighted toward foreign policy, so one of those
questions was replaced with a question about education funding. . The other two questions concern processes: voter
turnout and opinion polls – therefore, instead of three questions for this area there are five.


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