ERIC Number: EJ1061154
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
The Advantages of Teaching American Government
Botsch, Robert E.; Botsch, Carol S.
Journal of Political Science Education, v11 n2 p113-125 2015
Many arguments support mandating American National Government for undergraduates. South Carolina is one of the few states with such a legal mandate, but the law is badly flawed. We briefly review the history of a failed 1994 effort by the SC Political Science Association to improve the law and encourage implementation. We examine the impact of an "American Political Institutions" general education requirement implemented at our school in 2001 on knowledge and political attitudes. Our data come from two studies. The first study looks at short-term impacts of the course and includes over 3,100 students as they enter and exit the course over 13 years. We find a variety of positive impacts for students completing the course. The second study, performed in 2011 on over 500 students, looks at medium-term impacts of having taken American Government and/or American History at some point in their college career. We find a variety of significant positive impacts from taking either course, and we find even greater impacts from taking both courses, although the impact on political trust seems conditioned by government performance. We have some misgivings about state-mandated requirements with respect to faculty governance and academic freedom.
Descriptors: United States Government (Course), Relevance (Education), Political Science, Compliance (Legal), Program Implementation, Educational Legislation, School Law, United States History, State Legislation, College Programs, Instructional Design, Questionnaires, Student Surveys, Instructional Effectiveness, Undergraduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina