If you took any 100-level political science course (American, comparative, or IR) last semester at the University of Mississippi, chances are you took a survey during the first and last week of the semester. If you were curious about the results of that survey (which asked about political efficacy and news media consumption, among other things), here are the results. My co-author, Cy Rosenblatt, and I will present them this weekend at the APSA Teaching & Learning Conference in Washington, DC.
Here’s the takeaway: Doing well in a 100-level (“intro”) course in political seems to improve some indicators of internal political efficacy. Taking more than one “intro” course during a semester seems to improve external efficacy indicators. But completing a 100-level course (even an American politics course) seems to have no affect on whether respondents’ (i.e. students) believe they can understand politics. Ouch.
You can download our paper here (Scribd).