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AP Government

AP Government/Economics Syllabus 2011-12

Mr. Jonathan Setliff, Social Studies Department                                           Voice Mail: 216-251-6788, ext. 350                                         

E-mail: jsetliff@sja1890.org



This course explores the political theory and everyday practice that directs the daily operation of government and shapes public policy.  This course is taught on a college level and it requires a substantial amount of reading and preparation for every class.  The objectives of this course go beyond a basic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the American political system, as well as the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.  Each student is required to take the AP Government exam administered by the College Board in the spring.  The cost of the exam is approximately $85.


Class Resources:


O’Connor, Karen and Larry Sabato.  American Government: Continuity and Change. 2008 and 2006 editions.

Lasser, William.  Perspectives on American Politics.

Print and Internet News Sources:  New York Times, Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Time, Newsweek, The Economist, along with a variety of politically based websites.

Televised News Sources: MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CSPAN


It is strongly suggested you purchase the following review manual:


Lader, Curt et al.  Barrons: How to Prepare for the AP US Government and Politics Exam




Materials you will need each day:

a.       Notebook

b.      Blue, black, red pen and pencil with eraser

c.       Filler paper

d.      Pocket Folder for handouts. Also – keep your syllabus in this folder as it will be used for reference throughout the class.

e.       Textbooks (If a student loses either text, she will be charged for its replacement!)


To pass this course, that is required for graduation, students need to:


  1. Read and master the material within the text book(s) and supplemental readings
  2. Study notes daily
  3. Pass quizzes and tests
  4. Complete all assignments and projects
  5. Attend class regularly and be prepared
  6. Take the AP Government exam (required with a fee of $85.00)



The student’s grade is a summary of all points earned for:


a.       Tests

b.      Quizzes

c.       Projects

d.      Homework/Activities

e.       Class Participation


Class participation is expected, and required. Failure to participate will result in a grade reduction.



                                                              i.      Attendance and punctuality are very important. However, when a student is absent, it is her responsibility to obtain assignments and/or notes for material missed during the absence.





  1. As stated in the student handbook, students have two days to make up work missed due to an excused illness. Work turned in after the deadline, will receive a zero. I will not chase you for the outstanding work. It is your responsibility to turn the assignment into me personally!
  2. If there is a test or quiz the day a student comes back from an absence, she will be expected to take the test or quiz.  The test will not be made up in class, but will be in the LEC to complete. If the test or quiz is not made up in two days after the student returns, she will receive a zero.
  3. An unexcused absence on a test day results in an automatic zero for the test.
  4. Long range assignments and projects are due on the day assigned even if the student missed school within the week they are due.
  5. Surprise (unannounced) quizzes given during a students absence may not be made up. If the absence is excused, the student will be given an alternative assignment or quiz. Announced quizzes can and must be made up in the same time frame!!
  6. With the block schedule, there will be several opportunities for simulations, seminars, debates, discussions in class. Students who miss these activities due to an absence will be assigned a research project to make up for the missed work.



All homework assignments will be completed neatly in blue or black ink and on filler paper – no tear out paper will be accepted! If I cannot read it, it is wrong!


Two points will be deducted from assignments which do not meet these requirements. I will not accept assignments turned in with the margins ripped up. Please trim it off neatly.


    1. Each student should choose a responsible student for a study partner. If she is absent, this is the student she can call for assignments, notes, explanations, announcements of test or quizzes. Please exchange phone numbers and keep them in a safe, accessible place.
    2. Assignments will be turned in at the beginning of class in which they are due. The assignments will be considered late if the student needs to print it out or the student turns them in by the end of the day. In addition, points (half of the total point value) will be deducted from the assignments.



All work must be turned in on the due date, this includes current events,                        homework, article analysis, etc. If you do not have your assignment on the due date, you must turn it in the following day for half credit. In addition, if the assignment is not turned in on the second day, the student will receive a zero.



a.       A student who uses another’s work for her own has broken trust with the teacher, and the class. See Students Handbook for school policy on Academic Dishonesty.

b.      Respect in our classroom is extremely important. All students are expected to show respect to the teacher and other classmates at all times. Respectful behavior includes, but is not limited to…..

                                                        i.      Listening while someone else is speaking

                                                      ii.      Keeping critical remarks and put down to oneself

                                                    iii.      Using classroom equipment properly and with care


Any disrespectful or inappropriate behavior will result in a 3-point infraction as stated in the Student Handbook


c.       Students are expected to be on time and present for class each day.

                                                        i.      See Student Handbook for the school policy on tardiness to school and class

                                                      ii.      Students who miss surprise or homework quizzes because they are tardy will generally not be able to make up the points missed for the quizzes. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR THE FIRST BLOCK AND FOR THE BLOCK AFTER LUNCH. If the reason for the tardiness is acceptable, students may be given other work to make up the missed points.






  1. NO CELL PHONES!!! If I see one out, hear one vibrate or ring or observe a student “checking the time” the phone will be taken away, and appropriate infractions given.
  2. No water bottles except for SJA approved bottles with clear water only. Other food or drinks are not allowed, will be confiscated, and the appropriate infractions given.
  3. If I am late for class, I ask that students sit quietly until she arrives. If after 10 minutes, the teacher has not arrived, one of the students is to report to the main office. Again, all students are to study quietly and remain in her seat until the Main Office sends a teacher to the classroom.
  4. All rules of behavior and uniform standards apply in the classroom as stated in the Student Handbook. All guidelines will be enforced and the appropriate infractions will be issued.



The attached syllabus details reading assignments, unit assignments, quiz and test dates and other relevant information for each unit.  It is organized on a week to week basis. 




Syllabus broken out week by week.  Major assignments (quizzes and tests) listed along with some but not all in-class essays and writing assignments.


Week One

Chapter 1, Sabato

The Origins of American Government, pgs 3-11

In class exercise on the Constitution.

Free Response Question


Week two

Chapter 1, Sabato, pages 11-30.

Locke, “Second Treatise of Civil Government”, pgs 4-10

Roche, “The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action”, pgs 10-31

Beard, “Framing the Constitution,” pgs 31-40

In class essay

Quiz, chapter 1, Sabato.


Week three

Chapter two, US Constitution, Sabato, pages 31-45due Wednesday

Chapter 2, Sabato, pages 46-64, due Friday

Federalist papers, 41-51

Woll, chapter 2, pages 51-72


Week four:

Outline annotated constitution, Sabato, pages 66-94,  

Quiz, Sabato chapter 2

Woll, pages 84-102


Week five

Chapter 3, Federalism, Sabato, pages 95-104

Chapter 3, Sabato, pages 104-107 due Wednesday

Chapter 3, Sabato, pages 107-121, due Thursday
Quiz, chapter 3

In class essay

Woll, pgs 74-84


Week Six


Unit Test, chapters 1-3



Week seven

Sabato, chapter 4

County commissioner simulation


Week eight

Unit Two: Political Behavior

Sabato, chapter 11, Political Socialization and Public Opinion, pages 391-403, due Wednesday

Woll, pages 204-212

Attitude formation exercise

Polling exercise

Sabato, chapter 11, pages 403-418due Friday



Week ten


Quiz, Sabato, chapter 11

Election presentations



Week eleven


Sabato, chapter 12, Political Parties, pages 419-427

Analysis of midterm elections


Week twelve

Sabato, chapter 12, Political Parties 427-461


Woll, pages 181-198

In class essay

Quiz, Sabato, chapter 12


Week thirteen

Sabato, chapter 13, Voting and Elections, pages 461-481 due Wednesday

Woll, pgs 199-212

Sabato, chapter 13, pages 481-492 due Friday



Week fourteen

Film, “The Candidate”


Week fifteen

Sabato, chapter 14, The Campaign Process, pages 507-521 due Wednesday

In class essay

Sabato, chapter 14, pages 522-534 due Thursday

Quiz, chapters 13 and 14


Week sixteen

Sabato, chapter 15, The Media, pages 545-561  due Tuesday

Sabato, chapter 15, The Media, pages 561-579 due Thursday

Quiz chapter 15



Week seventeen

Unit Test, chapters 11-15