AP English Language and Composition

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader"

- Margaret Fuller 

AP English Language and Composition

2008-2009 Course Description

Facing History School English Department

This Advanced Placement course is designed for students in the Senior Institute class.  Using the College Board’s AP English Board course description, this class is designed to engage “students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes”.  (College Board, AP English Course Description, May 2008)  This class is a college-level course that prepares students for the necessary analytical, rhetorical and argumentative skills necessary for successful completion of college English courses. 


This course is structured around various styles of writing and uses the following essential question to frame our discussions and analysis:  How do authors use their voice and craft to make a change?  Students will focus on a Social Justice issue and follow this issue throughout the year, creating a portfolio of work centered around their choice of issue.  Students will analyze a variety of authors and styles as well as mimic these styles with their own personal writing.  Through the process of reading, writing and discussing texts, students will become skilled in composing for different audiences and purposes. The goal of this course is to “enable students to write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives.” (College Board, AP English Course Description, May 2008)  This course will also prepare students for the AP exam, their English PBAT and for their college writing courses.  Students are also expected to take the AP English Language and Composition Exam, which will serve as their final exam for this class.  **Pre-requisite:  At least 8 credits in English and successful completion of 9th and 10th English grade portfolios and 11th English grade panels.


The fall semester, we will focus on the following essential questions:

  • What is rhetoric?  How do authors use rhetorical devices? How do authors use their voice and craft to make a change? 

Required texts include (but are not limited to):

  • Various poems, essays, short stories and articles
  • Various speeches
  • A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift 
  • Othello by William Shakespeare
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Kite Runner by Kholed Hosseni

Expect homework every night.  Much of the reading in this class needs to be completed at home. Your grade will be broken down in the following categories:


  • 30% Class work (class activities, participation, journals, etc.)
  • 30% Essays, projects and tests (but all must be completed)
  • 25% Homework
  • 20% Quizzes

This class prepares 12th graders for their graduation PBAT in English as well as successful completion of the AP English and Composition Exam.   

***These are suggested pre-requisites.  Placement also depends on skill level, attendance and scheduling.

Student Links:
Google Books
MLA guide
AP Language Information 
AP Language Test Prep