Political Parties and Interest Groups: Political Parties

John Zaller

Political Parties and Interest Groups: Political Parties

Political Science department

John Zaller

Add Review
from 34 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.2
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.0
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.8
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.7
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.0
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Needs Textbook
  • Is Podcasted
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Would Take Again

Grades

Fall 2018
55.4%
46.1%
36.9%
27.7%
18.5%
9.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2017
46.5%
38.8%
31.0%
23.3%
15.5%
7.8%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2016
21.3%
17.8%
14.2%
10.7%
7.1%
3.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2015
35.8%
29.9%
23.9%
17.9%
11.9%
6.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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1 of 3

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted June 25, 2020 Grade Received: A

Professor Zaller is a really smart guy, but his lectures are really boring. The workload (readings) is really heavy for PS 142A, and you have to do them. He assigns weekly reading quizzes and the questions are extremely specific, so if you don't do the readings or just skim them, your grade will drop pretty quickly. Overall, I learned a fair amount about American political parties in his class, so that's cool. If you're interested in elections and political parties, by all means definitely take this class. But if you have the chance to take a different class, you'd probably be doing yourself a favor.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted April 9, 2020 Grade Received: A

He is a very smart man. Look up his UCLA theory of parties. However, that being said, his lectures are very dry. They are podcasted though, so that helps because you can listen to the podcasts on a faster speed. I found his lectures to be kind of irrelevant to the midterms or finals. There is a LOT of reading and a reading quiz every week. However, the TAs grade based on if they think you read it, rather than having the exact answer. It is an easy A, but be prepared to not learn a lot and do the readings!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted March 3, 2020 Grade Received: A

The material in this class is fascinating, but I found Professor Zaller's delivery in lecture to be very dry, bordering on boring sometimes. He is quick-witted and gives strong, although blunt, responses to questions from students.

The most important part of this class is the outside material – he gives weekly quizzes on the readings that are fairly easy as long as you've actually done the reading. What's more, you will need to draw heavily from the readings for your in-class midterm and final exam which take the form of a timed essay on a single question related to the course. If you do the reading and show up to class at least most of the time, you should have no problem in this course.

The central focus of the class is the UCLA theory of political parties, and Zaller spends a great deal of the class attempting to get us to agree with the theory. I found his perspective and the theory to be very interesting, which made the class one I think I will remember for a long time.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Feb. 7, 2020 Grade Received: A

Good class, very insightful professor, as long as you do the readings you should be fine.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Jan. 16, 2020 Grade Received: A

His class was great and informative overall. There was an average of 100 pages of reading per week and there was a weekly quiz on the assigned readings and a quiz on the material of the lectures every 2-3 lectures. Quizzes came out to 40% of the grade. They were graded by student graders that gave you full points if you were anywhere near the answer thought. His lectures can be boring in person as he talks quite slowly and monotone, but he doesn't mind if you leave class after the quizzes. Just watch the lecture on bruincast at 2x speed. The midterm (25% of the grade) and final (35%) are both in-class essays that are graded by including as many pieces of evidence as possible. Your paper doesn't have to be fully coherent, you just have to include 'building blocks' from a sheet that he gives you. He gave 7% of extra credit which was substantial and super helpful! I enjoyed the content of his lectures as he is very knowledgeable. The information was broken down into four categories: political parties and democracy (overview of the nature of parties and their history in the United States from 1787 to the present), parties in the electorate, parties nominations to office, and the party in the government. He tries to be bipartisan but openly admits his left of center preferences. I would recommend this class.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Jan. 4, 2020 Grade Received: A

Zaller is very passionate about this class but he is so boring. There is also a ton of reading and weekly quizzes which are graded pretty easily. I would skip this class if you can. It's easy but very very boring.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 30, 2019 Grade Received: A

To be completely honest, his class is boring. And I mean it. He talks super slow and likes to walk around. However, he does offer Bruincast, and if you speed it up to 2x, his class suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.

The course material is very interesting and engaging as well. I loved the assigned readings, especially "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt. This book is one of the most interesting books I have ever read in my life, more than how I liked Harry Potter. Honestly recommend it even if you choose not to take his class.

He actually taught us a lot, about partisanship, and how people who we think are stupid, are not actually stupid, because we are equally stupid in their eyes. All his grades are being graded by undergraduate TAs, which are not the most enlightened people. You have weekly quizzes, and if you basically write something that is close to the answer, they'll give you full grade. I mean I love it for them grading like this, but it doesn't feel good when I study so much harder than my friends but they got the same grade as I am without even reading.

My friends thought they didn't learn anything new from this class, and it can be true. However, the thing that struck me the most is how he described partisanship and analyzed both sides' resentment. I would take his class again. Preferably with the same TA and the same grading standard.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 25, 2019 Grade Received: A

Got a B on the midterm but somehow salvaged my grade with the final. He let us change the weight of the midterm on the day of the final which was sooo generous. The quizzes are easy if you pay attention to the details of the story rather than the main messages of the story. Just read and re-read everything and you should be good!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 17, 2019 Grade Received: A

Very informative professor, who definitely knows what he's talking about. Readings were long, but some of it was material that you probably wouldn't find anywhere outside of his course reader. One of the weeks readings was audio of Zaller interviewing a political 'king maker' who controls Louisiana's congressmen and in it he explains how he's able to wire money to candidates to by pass election finance rules.

Every week there's a quiz on the reading and lecture, but they are pretty easy, just skim your notes on previous lectures or readings (Most people got 100% on all of them). Most lecture quizzes are based on whatever chart or diagram he presented in class previously. These make up like 40% or something of your grade, so it makes doing the readings important. The 2 big readings are Acts of Congress and The Righteous Mind (only parts 1 and 2 of RM)- I'd recommend finding the audio books of these 2 in advance cause they're pretty long reads.

There is 1 midterm and 1 final that are about 60% of the grade and are both essays. Zaller has a weird grading system that's constantly changing, so it's a little hard to keep up with it. The core concept (as of when I had him, he may change it again) is that he assigns 'points' for every concept you mention in your essay, (Our class the highest points a person got was 70 'points', but most people got like 40). Then he'll choose the essay he thinks is the lowest 'A level paper', and that paper's point number becomes the dividing line between who's assigned an A and who gets a A- or below. It's kinda a weird subjective curve, but most people seemed to do ok with it. Main point, during the midterm/final, just keep writing as much as you can.

Extra credit is provided based off if his graduate students need any social experiments done on his undergrads. Super easy points, for my class made up 7% of our grade, but it fluctuates per class.

Over all fun class, bit of work, but over all learned a LOT about our party system.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted Oct. 1, 2019 Grade Received: A+

I'm selling the Course Reader for this class for cheap. Text me! 818-675-1262

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Needs Textbook
  • Is Podcasted
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Would Take Again
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