Nationals 2014

                     AP United States Government
                            Course Syllabus 2013

                                    Mr. Smith

Advanced Placement Government and Politics is designed to give you a critical perspective on American politics and government.  It will focus on the contemporary nature and function of the American national political system.   It begins with a brief study of the framework of American political values and traditions.  Most of the course will cover the basic political institutions (Executive, Legislative, Judicial and Bureaucracy) and processes (political parties, campaigning, voting, media, lobbying) through which public policy (civil rights,economic, foreign policy) is adopted and implemented.

AP Government and Politics is for the student who has the ability and desire to pursue a college-level study while still in high school.  It should be understood that you will be required to take a great deal of individual initiative in completing assignments prior to class time. Below is a general outline of the course.

I. Constitutional Underpinnings of United States                Government

II. Political Beliefs and Behaviors

III. Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media

 IV. Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts

V. Public Policy

VI. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Required Materials:

Textbook: Government in America, Lineberry, Robert
Access to Daily or weekly periodicals.
Notebook for class discussions.
Three ring folder for news project

Grading Policy:

1. Student  grades shall be a composite score of class participation, homework assignments, journal entries, research project, presentations, quizzes and tests.

2. Test scores will be curved in accordance to AP standards.

3. Grades for the course shall be determined by the total points earned throughout the grading period.  Grades are calculated on a straight percentage with NO  curve.

90-100  A    80-89  B      70-79  C      60-69  D        59 F

4. At the beginning of each nine weeks students will be given 100 Participation points.   Students will be able to maintain these  points  provided, they come prepared for class with the correct  materials, are punctual, respectful to others and fully participate in classroom activities.

5. The following behaviors are NOT permitted in my classroom, and will  result at minimum in the loss of participation points:

    *Use of cell phones or other electronic devices.
    *Food and Drinks
    * Inappropriate language 
    *Head down during class

6. Semester grades will be determined by adding each 9 weeks percentage and multiplying by 2.  The semester exam grade percentage will then be added and the total divided by 5.  This gives a true percentage grade in following the school grading system as shown below.

1st 9 weeks grade = 40%
2nd 9 weeks grade= 40%
Semester Final *   = 20%

Semester Grade= 100%



 AP United States Government Summary Outline

I.Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (5-15%) 

     A.Considerations that influenced the                                                                                                      formulation and adoption of the Constitution 

      B.Separation of powers 


      D.Theories of democratic government

II.Political beliefs and behaviors of individuals 

            (10- 20%) 

      A.Beliefs that citizens hold about their        

           government and its leaders 

      B.Processes by which citizens learn about politics 

      C.The nature, sources, and consequences of    

          public opinion 

      D.The ways in which citizens vote and 

           otherwise participate in  political life 

      E.Factors that influence citizens to differ from 

          one another in terms of political beliefs and        


III.Political parties, interest groups, and mass media:         

mechanisms that facilitate the communication of 

interests and preferences by like-minded citizens                      


      A.Political parties and elections (including their 

            functions, organization, historical 

            development, and effects on the political   


      B.Interest groups (including pacs) 

         1.The range of interests that are or are not 


         2.The activities of interest groups 

         3.The effects of interest groups on the political 


         4.The unique characteristics and roles of pacs                 

            in the political process 

      C.The mass media 

          1.The functions and structures of the media 

          2.The impacts of media on politics

IV.Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency the bureaucracy, and the federal courts (35-45%) 

      A.The major formal and informal institutional 

           arrangements of powers

      B.Relationships among these four institutions 

      C.Links between these institutions and political                     

            parties, interest groups, the media, 

            subnational governments, and public opinion

V.Public policy (5-15%) 

      A.Policy making in a federal system 

      B.The formation of policy agenda 

      C.The role of institutions in the enactment of 


      D.The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in 

          policy implementation and interpretation 

      E.Linkages between policy processes and the 


             1.Political institutions and federalism 

             2.Political parties 

             3.Interest groups 

             4.Public opinion 


             6.Policy networks

VI.Civil liberties and civil rights (5-15%) 

       A.The development of civil liberties and civil    

            rights by judicial interpretation 

       B.Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties 

       C.The impact of the Fourteenth Amendment on 

           the constitutional development of rights and    




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