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American Government Across Time, Space, and Location
Unformatted Document Text:  6 difference (Niemi and Junn, 1998; Patrick, 1972; Patrick, 1977; Patrick and Hoge, 1991). For example, Niemi and Junn (1998) developed a comprehensive study through the 1988 National Assessment of Educational Progress, examining the knowledge and attitudes of twelfth graders (21). Their assessment tool consisted of 150 objective questions on a wide range of topics about government. The content of the assessment was divided into four substantive areas including: democratic principles, political institutions, political processes, and rights, responsibilities and the law. There is a greater emphasis in some of the areas, yet it appears to be quite comprehensive in nature. Additionally, they had students write brief essays about governmental concepts and issues that were evaluated for learning based upon content. Niemi and Junn found that students received an average score of 80% on questions pertaining to general rights of citizens; an average score of 66% on State and Local government questions, 63% on questions about political parties; 59% on basic structure and functions of government; and 43% on comparative politics questions. Patrick (1977) notes the impact on high school students is more easily observed when comparing a control group who did not complete a political education course to an experimental group who did complete the course. Specifically, political knowledge is greatly impacted for students who complete a political education course. However, results are mixed when it comes to a change in participation skill development and political education courses have little to no impact on attitude development such as tolerance of other’s attitudes and rights (196-201). Findings from the IEA Civic Education Study indicate students in the United States who have studied government and politics have increased political knowledge and a greater sense of political efficacy as compared to their counterparts who have not studied the topics. (Torney- Purta and Barber, 2004). Lopez and Kolaczkowski (2003) find the same pattern when comparing

Authors: Bryant, Jane.
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difference (Niemi and Junn, 1998; Patrick, 1972; Patrick, 1977; Patrick and Hoge, 1991). For
example, Niemi and Junn (1998) developed a comprehensive study through the 1988 National
Assessment of Educational Progress, examining the knowledge and attitudes of twelfth graders
(21). Their assessment tool consisted of 150 objective questions on a wide range of topics about
government. The content of the assessment was divided into four substantive areas including:
democratic principles, political institutions, political processes, and rights, responsibilities and
the law. There is a greater emphasis in some of the areas, yet it appears to be quite
comprehensive in nature. Additionally, they had students write brief essays about governmental
concepts and issues that were evaluated for learning based upon content. Niemi and Junn found
that students received an average score of 80% on questions pertaining to general rights of
citizens; an average score of 66% on State and Local government questions, 63% on questions
about political parties; 59% on basic structure and functions of government; and 43% on
comparative politics questions.
Patrick (1977) notes the impact on high school students is more easily observed when
comparing a control group who did not complete a political education course to an experimental
group who did complete the course. Specifically, political knowledge is greatly impacted for
students who complete a political education course. However, results are mixed when it comes to
a change in participation skill development and political education courses have little to no
impact on attitude development such as tolerance of other’s attitudes and rights (196-201).
Findings from the IEA Civic Education Study indicate students in the United States who
have studied government and politics have increased political knowledge and a greater sense of
political efficacy as compared to their counterparts who have not studied the topics. (Torney-
Purta and Barber, 2004). Lopez and Kolaczkowski (2003) find the same pattern when comparing


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