Program-Level Objectives met with this assignment:

  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility
  • Communication

Course-Level Objectives met with this assignment:

  • Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system.
  • Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in both theory and practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
  • Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system.
  • Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens
  • Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics

SLO #2: Congress inaction. 70% of students will successfully research the role of the U.S. Congress in policymaking as well as the relationship it has with its constituents. [ SLO #2 fulfills the following Program Level Outcomes: Communication, Critical Thinking, Social and Personal Responsibility, as well as the following Course Level Outcomes: 1, 4, 5, 7, 8]

Activity for assessment:

For this assignment, we are going to focus in on the U.S. Legislature.  Congress has a terrible reputation for divisiveness and political pandering.  We are going to research what their role is, per the Constitution, versus the perception of Congress. Additionally, we will evaluate the idea of term limits, political polls, and some of the laws enacted this term. Start by reading the following articles, and then answer the questions below.

Start with an explanation of the office and duties ( ) AND

Our complicated relationship with Congress ( )

Congressional Performance ( )

How to salvage Congress ( )

Term limits for Congress ( )

Getting things done ( )  Feel free to conduct other research on their current lawmaking status.


  • What was the role of Congress per the founding documents?  Has this role changed over time?  If so, how and why?
  • What are the primary duties of the U.S. Congress?  What would you consider to be the top role or duty of Congress?
  • How has the relationship with the people changed over time? Why?
  • Based on recent polling, how does American feel about its current Congress?  What are some of the issues that are causing mixed feelings about them?
  • Congressional term limits have become a largely debated topic in the last couple of decades.  Considering we limit presidential terms, would term limits for congress be a good idea? What are some of the pros and cons of Congressional term limits?
  • There are so many issues facing us today.  (ex. Economy, immigration and border security, health care, Veteran’s issues, gun rights/control, taxation, foreign policy, etc) What policies have they been making progress with?  What do you feel, as a voter or potential voter, they should be focusing on?
  • Overall, based on your research, what are your thoughts on Congress.  Do they deserve the bad rep?  Are they working as hard as we think they should be?  What changes could be made to make them more efficient and supported by voters?

This assignment must follow MLA guidelines, be typed in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, and be a minimum of 1000 words with a works cited page.  The works cited are not included in the minimum word count. Any sources provided in the assignment prompt MUST be used within your paper and cited in your works cited.  Other sources used must be cited as well.

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