AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics Course Overview

AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, they will complete a political science research or applied civics project.

AP US Government and Politics Course Content

COURSE UNITS

The AP U.S. Government and Politics course is organized around five units, which focus on major topics in U.S. government and politics. The units are:

■ Foundations of American Democracy

■ Interaction Among Branches of Government

■ Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

■ American Political Ideologies and Beliefs; and

■ Political Participation

Foundational documents and Supreme Court cases are an integral part of the course and necessary for students to understand the philosophical underpinnings, significant legal precedents, and political values of the U.S. political system and may serve as the focus of AP Exam questions. The course requires study of:

■ 9 foundational documents, including the U.S. Constitution

■ 15 landmark Supreme Court cases

POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH OR APPLIED CIVICS PROJECT

The required project adds a civic component to the course, engaging students in exploring how they can affect, and are affected by, government and politics throughout their lives. The project might have students collect data on a teacher-approved political science topic, participate in a community service activity, or observe and report on the policymaking process of a governing body. Students should plan a presentation that relates their experiences or findings to what they are learning in the course.

AP U.S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES

Practice 1: Apply political concepts and processes to scenarios in context

Practice 2: Apply Supreme Court decisions

Practice 3: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics

Practice 4: Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources

Practice 5: Develop an argument in essay format

AP US Government and Politics Exam Structure

AP U.S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS EXAM: 3 HOURS

Assessment Overview

The AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam measures students’ understanding of required content. Students must be able to define, compare, explain, and interpret political concepts, policies, processes, perspectives, and behaviors that characterize the U.S. political system.

Format of Assessment

Section I: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 80 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

■ Quantitative Analysis: Analysis and application of quantitativebased source material

■ Qualitative Analysis: Analysis and application of text-based (primary and secondary) sources

■ Visual Analysis: Analysis and application of qualitative visual information

■ Concept Application: Explanation of the application of political concepts in context

■ Comparison: Explanation of the similarities and differences of political concepts

■ Knowledge: Identification and definition of political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors

Section II: Free Response | 4 Questions | 100 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

■ Concept Application: Respond to a political scenario, explaining how it relates to a political principle, institution, process, policy, or behavior

■ Quantitative Analysis: Analyze quantitative data, identify a trend or pattern, draw a conclusion for the visual representation, and explain how it relates to a political principle, institution, process, policy, or behavior

■ SCOTUS Comparison: Compare a nonrequired Supreme Court case with a required Supreme Court case, explaining how information from the required case is relevant to that in the nonrequired one

■ Argument Essay: Develop an argument in the form of an essay, using evidence from one or more required foundational documents