- Figure 4. Comparison of Overall Grade Distributions in 2006 and 2007
- Figure 13. Comparison of Features on House and Senate Member Web Sites
- Figure 6. Grade Distribution in 2007 of Average (C), Substandard (D), and Failing (F) Web Sites from 2006
- Figure 7. Grade Distribution in 2007 of Above-Average (B) and Award-Winning (A) Web Sites from 2006
- Figure 14. Comparison of House and Senate Overall Grades (Member, Committee, and Leadership)
- Figure 22. Comparison of Democratic and Republican Grade Distribution (Member, Committee, and Leadership)
- Figure 9. Mouse Awards by Category
The quality of congressional Web sites, as a whole, remains less comprehensive and accessible than one expects from an institution with broad public audiences. The most common letter grade earned by congressional Web sites in 2007 was a “D”—the same as it was in 2006. Last year 38.6% of sites were substandard (D) or failing (F). This year that was true of 41.6% of congressional sites.
Figure 6. Grade Distribution in 2007 of Average (C), Substandard (D), and Failing (F) Web Sites from 2006
Half of the sites that earned “F”s last year received the same grade in 2007, and a full 63% of Member sites that received a “D” in 2006 received the same grade or slipped to an “F” in 2007. Of the Member sites that earned a “C” in 2006, 42% scored lower in 2007. This was the only grade category in which more sites received lower grades than received the same grade again.
Of the Member Web sites that received “B”s last year, fully 61% of them either maintained their quality or improved to become award-winners. Only those that failed to keep their sites updated dropped below average. Additionally, a surprising number of the 2006 freshmen started their term with an excellent site right out of the gate—16% of the class received “A”s, garnering them a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Mouse Award.
The most common letter grade earned in the Senate was a “B” compared to a “D” in the House. In the Senate, 33% fewer sites received a failing grade in 2007 than in 2006, whereas in the House, the percentage of failing sites jumped from 12% to 21%—an increase of 75% since our 2006 evaluations. More than half of the Senate sites received an “A” or “B”—a 20% increase over 2006—compared to just one-third of House sites that did the same. However, at the top, both chambers saw an increase in “A”s and, therefore, in their total number of Mouse Award winners.
Figure 22. Comparison of Democratic* and Republican Grade Distribution (Member, Committee, and Leadership)
In 2006, Republican Web sites performed slightly better that their Democratic counterparts. In our 2007 evaluations, however, Democratic sites hold a slight edge over Republican sites; 61% of Democratic sites obtained “C”s or better, compared to 55% of Republican sites. While Republican Web sites have 2% more “B”s, they have 4% more sites scoring “D”s or “F”s. The difference cannot be completely attributed to the switch in party control of the committees, either. The number of Democratic Member sites with “C”s or better increased by 3% from 2006 to 2007, while for Republicans the number of Member sites earning those grades decreased by 7%.
Fourteen Member, committee, and leadership Web sites scored higher than the highest-scoring site in their respective category last year. Of the 2006 award-winning Member Web sites, 44% won Gold, Silver, or Bronze Mouse Awards again this year. In addition, 19 more sites overall received a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Mouse Award this year and twice as many sites earned a Gold Mouse Award.
*For the purposes of analysis, Independents were counted with the party with which they caucused.
View the 2007 Mouse Award winners!
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Copyright 2007 by the Congressional Management Foundation