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For other antecedent variables, only selected correlations were computed.

These findings are described later in the text. The key findings for the five demographic characteristics from Table 5 are discussed first:

Age.

The younger students clearly became more interested in the legis

lature and talked more with their parents as a result of experimental view

ing, while the older students were not influenced along these dimensions.

It was primarily the eleventh and twelfth graders who increased their political efficacy and gained a more favorable attitude toward the legislators.

There was a moderate tendency for the ninth and tenth graders to learn some

what more about the legislature during the experiment than their older counterparts did.

Sex.

There were few major differences in response by the male and fe

male subjects. Females were more stimulated to discuss politics with their

parents, which may be a normally unexpected home topic for girls. Males were more likely to voluntarily watch home coverage of the legislature after the school viewing sessions ended. In general, the effects of the ex

perimental treatment did not differ between the sexes, despite the sex dif

ferences in ole expectations for political involvement and the virtually all-male composition of the legis lative body.

Grade Average. It was anticipated that the more scholastically pro

ficient students would learn most from the viewing experience because of their more developed intellectual and information processing skills. Their relative knowledge gain was greater than the gain among students of lower ability, but the difference was slight. The brighter students did respond with more interpersonal discussion , with both parents and friends. There

was a slight tendency for the below average students to more positively

change attitudes toward the legislature.

Table 5a

Conditional Associations between Experimental Treatment and Dependent Variables,

at Two Levels of Antecedent Subject Characteristics

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Structural
Knowledge T2

+.48

+.55 +.37 +.47 7.48 N=342 subjects completing questionnaires at all three sessions.

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Race.

The programs had a similar impact on black and white subjects,

as shown in Table 5b. The major difference was found for knowledge acquisition, where whites consistently learned more than blacks. However, at 13, the black youngsters were showing relatively more interest in the legislature and talking politics more often with friends. They remained more skeptical about the openness of legislative business.

Social Class. A remarkably uniform pattern of impact was found across

the two levels of socio-economic status. The legislature programs appeared

to contribute to the political socialization of less advantaged youngs ters

as much as for the middle-class youth.

Race and Class. Racial and social class differences are often confounded with each other. In this study, only 21% of the black youngsters were middle-class, compared to 65% of the whites. Table 5b breaks the study group among middle-class whites, and working-class blacks and whites. The small total number of middle-class blacks (n=21) available at all three testings precludes analyzing them separately.

The findings further articulate the increased political interest gener

ated among the black youngs ters, and the increased interpersonal discussion level. These same youngsters also increased their reading of legislative news. Both the working-class groups remained more skeptical of the openness

of the legislative process.

The overall lack of social class differences existed primarily among

the white youngsters.

One anomoly in this breakdown is the interaction of race/class with po

litical knowledge and viewing. The original racial difference in the knowledge correlations (in the two lefthand colums of Table 5b) is largely

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learning occurred among the middle-class blacks excluded from this particular analysis. This particular finding will remain undiscussed without further supportive research.

In addition to these interactions on general subject characteristics, conditional associations were also examined at high and low levels of ten

politically relevant antecedent variables, all measured at the first test

session, before any shows were seen. For each of these continuous variables,

the overall sample was split near the median into two groups.

This allows

analysis of the relative impact of the legislature programs on subjects who

differed in original knowledge, interest, efficacy, attitude, and communica

tion behavior.

The numerical values of the high vs. low classifications on

the six most important variables are indicated in Table 6.

The following

paragraphs discuss the findings for each antecedent test variable.

Initial knowledge.

There were surprisingly small differences between

the knowledge acquisition of the well-informed and poorly-informed subjects (Table 6a). Those who originally scored low on the general knowledge index

learned slightly more than the more knowledgeable subjects. Since this oc

curred on the structural knowledge index as well as the general knowledge

index, a ceiling effect explanation seems unlikely. The well-informed group showed the only increase in political efficacy, while experimental exposure was not related to efficacy among the poorly-informed subjects. On the other hand, the less knowledgeable group became more favorable toward the legislators, while the evaluations of the more knowledgeable subjects were not affected by the experiment.

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