AP GOVERNMENT

COURSE SYLLABUS – 2008 -2009 

MR. WALT ADDIE

Walt.Addie@fcps.edu       703-488-6300 (work) 703-450-1584 (home)

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Welcome to AP Government!  J  This yearlong, alternate day, 90 minute class block schedule college-level course prepares students to take two AP exams: United States Government and Comparative Government and Politics. The course is designed to teach students to understand and be able to critically analyze important concepts in both U.S. and comparative politics through the study of six core countries from AP Comparative Government (the United Kingdom, Mexico, Nigeria, Iran, Russia, and China) and more in-depth study of American government and politics. As a college-level course, it is rigorous and demanding.

 This course is designed to give students a critical perspective on government and politics in the United States.  The course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret United States politics and the analysis of specific case studies.  It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that make up the United States political reality.  The acquisition of a thorough and systematic comprehension of United States government and politics requires that the student learn facts, concepts and information critically to evaluate general propositions about government and politics.  Students also learn to present basic data relevant to government and politics in sustained written arguments.  In addition, the student will also gain knowledge of the world's diverse political structures and practices by the study of specific countries and of general concepts used to interpret the key political relationships found in virtually all national politics.

                This course is taught at the college level and can be very difficult, especially for students taking an AP class for the first time.  We will focus on improving your reading and writing skills as well as preparing you to be an educated participant in the political process.  You will be expected to analyze and evaluate significant historical trends and data and apply your results to current situations.  Students successfully completing the class and the test have a good chance of receiving college credit for the course.

                The main objective of the course is to improve student comprehension of branches of American government, political processes, political behavior, and policy development.  High-level reading and comprehension skills are necessary for success in the course and on the exam.  Writing skills are also important, as students will be expected to synthesize information and present it in cogent and succinct language.

 

AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam – Monday Morning, May 4, 2009

 

AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam – Monday Afternoon, May 4, 2009

TEXTS –

Government in America: People, Politics, and Society -  Edwards, Wattenberg & Lineberry – Pearson Longman – 2006 - 12th edition

( supplied by Westfield High School – Replacement Cost:  $73.00)

Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges – Charles Hauss – Thomson Wadsworth – 2006 -  5th edition

 (supplied by Westfield High School - Replacement Cost: $85.00 )

REFERENCE TEXTS, READERS AND WEBSITES:  

*American Government:  Readings and Cases – Peter Woll - Pearson Longman – 15th, 16TH or 17th edition (not supplied by the school – obtain or purchase used copy)

Comparative Politics Today:  A World View– Almond, Dalton, Powell & Strom – Pearson Longman – 2007 – 8th edition (Instructor reference only)

Country Watch – Website to the World – School Library On-line resources

CQ Researcher – School Library On-line resources

LexisNexis (Scholastic Edition) – School Library On-line resources

Economist.Com Country Briefings - http://www.economist.com/countries/index.cfm

BBC News – Country Profiles and Special Reports –   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm

Country Studies – Federal Research Division – Library of Congress –    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles.html

Frontline World – Special Reports –   http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/

National Geographic Online –   http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0708/index.html

CNN.Com –   http://www.cnn.com/ 

Washington Post.Com –   http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Youthleadership.net –  http://www.youthleadership.net/index.jsp

Student Government Affairs Program –    http://www.sgap.org/

Turnitin.com – provided by Westfield High School  -   http://www.turnitin.com/static/home.html

Apcentral.collegeboard.com –   http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html

Freedomhouse.org –    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=1

COURSE TOPIC OUTLINE

1ST QUARTER – U.S. GOVERNMENT - POLITICAL BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS – POLITICAL PARTIES, INTEREST GROUPS, AND MASS MEDIA - Introducing Government in America – Public opinion and Political Action – The Mass Media and the Political Agenda –  Political Parties – Nominations and Conventions – Elections and Voting Behavior

 Comparative Government Assignment (CGA) – Russia and China – (see CGA link on webpage) to:

 know important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of Russia and China

 understand major comparative political concepts, themes, and generalizations

 understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences

 be able to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries and to derive generalizations

 be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to comparative government and politics

 

2ND QUARTER – U.S. GOVERNMENT - CONSTITUTIONAL UNDERPINNINGS OF UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT – INSTITUTIONS OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (CONGRESS) - STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT - The Constitution - Federalism - State and Local Government – FLE – Interest Groups– Congress

Comparative Government Assignment (CGA) – Iran and Nigeria – (see CGA link on webpage) to:

 know important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of Iran and Nigeria

 understand major comparative political concepts, themes, and generalizations

 understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences

 be able to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries and to derive generalizations

 be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to comparative government and politics

3RD QUARTER – U.S. GOVERNMENT - INSTITUTIONS OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT – PUBLIC POLICY -  The Congress, the President and the Budget -  TThe Presidency - The Federal Bureaucracy: The Real Power  - Economic Policymaking - Social Welfare Policymaking – Policymaking for Health Care and the Environment – National Security Policymaking

Comparative Government Assignment (CGA) – Great Britain and Mexico – (see CGA link on webpage) to:

 know important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of Great Britain and Mexico

 understand major comparative political concepts, themes, and generalizations

 understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences

 be able to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries and to derive generalizations

 be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to comparative government and politics

4TH QUARTER – U.S. GOVERNMENT - INSTITUTIONS OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (THE FEDERAL COURTS) – CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES- The Federal Courts – Civil Liberties and Public Policy – Civil Rights and Public Policy – Financial Literacy – Model Supreme Court

Comparative Government Assignment (CGA) – Review and Practice Tests

 

GRADING AND ASSESSMENT

Your final course grade will consist of four separate quarter averages plus your final exam score. These five grades will be averaged together to determine the final grade for the year.

QUARTER GRADES - each quarter grade will be divided into five parts; each part based on a 100 pt. scale.

1. UNIT TESTS - 40% OF YOUR QUARTER GRADE – - simulates the AP test format – 60 multiple choice questions, 4 - 7 free response essay, data and chart questions (rubric assessed) plus a political cartoon analysis - 2 per quarter  

2. PROJECT GRADE - 20% OF YOUR QUARTER GRADE - see assignment sheets on the web page for each quarter - attendance/participation will be part of your assessment.

3. HOMEWORK/CLASSWORK - 10% OF YOUR QUARTER GRADE – outside reading analysis, rubric assessment practice and other assignments - checked in class for points - no credit for missing or incomplete assignments –

4. COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT ASSIGNMENT (CGA) TEST - 20% OF YOUR QUARTER GRADE – 55 AP multiple-choice questions and 1-8 free response questions - refer to the CGA assignment sheet and outline on the web page.

5.  AP PRACTICE QUARTER TEST – 10% OF YOUR QUARTER GRADE –  60 AP multiple-choice questions and four AP free response essay questions.

GRADE CALCULATION EXAMPLE:

1. UNIT TEST AVERAGE = 92 x .40 = 36.80

2. PROJECT GRADE =        89 x .20 = 17.80

3. H.W. AVERAGE =         100 x .10 = 10.00

4. CGA GRADE =               90 x .20 =  18.00

5. AP PRACTICE TEST     92 x .10 =   9.20

     TOTAL = 91.80 (B+)

ADDITIONAL GRADES AND COURSE INFORMATION

Current Events:  This course relies on your ability to keep up-to-date with current events.  We will emphasize the skills necessary to be an active and informed participant in our republic.  I expect you to follow news items from the Washington Post and/or Washington Times and/or New York Times (especially the front page) and other news sources.  We will spend some class time discussing current events.  It is important to note that this is not a current events course.  Rather, it is a course devoted to the structure and function of the American government and the formation of policy within that system.  While current events will be utilized to serve as examples that illustrate the concepts we discuss, the course is designed to provide an intellectual foundation from which you will be able to understand and analyze national politics in the United States for the rest of your life.

 

Honor Code:

All students in this class will abide by an honor code.  I will not tolerate any cheating, stealing, sharing of information outside of established guidelines, or plagiarism.  Plagiarism is, simply, using someone else’s ideas or words without giving credit to the source.  Even phrases taken from source material, if reproduced verbatim, can constitute plagiarism.  Accordingly, you will turn in two copies of every formal written assignment: one to me and one to turnitin.com, where your writing will be compared to thousands of sources and millions of prior student submissions.  Anyone violating the honor code will receive a zero for the assignment on the first offense.  I will also notify administrators, counselors, and parents of the situation.  Subsequent violations will be dealt with appropriately and severely.

 

Online Resources:

The publishers of your books have created incredible web sites to go along with your textbooks.  There you can find sample multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions and flash cards for your use.  I highly recommend visiting this site prior to all tests.  Here are the addresses:

 

Edwards text: http://wps.ablongman.com/long_edwards_ga_12/0,10640,2179653-,00.html

Hauss text: http://www.wadsworth.com/cgi-wadsworth/ course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&product_isbn_issn=0534572804&discipline_number=20

 

Course Home Page:

All assignments and due dates, along with many valuable links will be available on my web sites.  Be sure to check these often, especially if you are absent from class.  Here are the addresses:

 

http://oocities.com/tjmaxs07

http://oocities.com/tjmaxs08

http://oocities.com/tjmaxs09

http://fcps.blackboard.com/

 

FINAL EXAM - 10% OF THE COURSE GRADE - averaged in with your four quarter grades.   Two parts:

United States Government – Required!  Covers the course material (see the SOL study guide on the web page).  It will be given during the exam days in June

Comparative Government – Required!   Covers the course material on the six core countries - 2 options:  take the AP Comparative Test on May 4th and receive an automatic 100 on this part of the final OR   take the Course Comparative Final prior to exam days in June and receive whatever score you earn.

Both scores will be averaged together and count as your Final Exam grade for the course.

 

EXTRA CREDIT - political cartoons and/or special assignments - see me for details - does not replace requirements!

EXTRA HELP/MAKEUPS - After school Monday thru Thursday

DAILY PREPARATION - bring all required texts, books, notebooks, pen/pencil, homework assignments, etc each day!  (points off your  homework  grade for each that is missing!)

LATE WORK AND MAKEUP POLICY - Makeup work will come under the county policy (one day for each day absent up to a maximum of 10 days).  Due to the alternating day structure of the block schedule, students are responsible to meet and arrange makeup (by appointment - Mon. thru Thurs.) with the instructor prior to the next class meeting if possible.   Makeup Unit Tests require 4 essays plus the multiple choice!   Students are expected to take the makeup test the day they return to my class either during that class period or after school!

ATTENDENCE – Three unexcused absences equals failure for the quarter.   Three unexcused tardies equals one unexcused absence.  Five unexcused tardies equals two unexcused absences. Seven unexcused tardies equals three unexcused absences and failure for the quarter. 

Parents and Counselors will be notified by Interim time of the 3rd quarter for seniors in danger of failure for the year.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please print out the section below. Both you and your parent or guardian sign and date and return to me at the second class meeting.

 

I have read and understand the guidelines for this course, and I agree to abide by them.  I understand the importance of integrity in an academic environment, and I agree to abide by the honor code.

 

 

 

Student Name _________________________________________              Period ___________

 

 

 

Student Signature _________________________________________________________ Date _______________

 

 

 

Parent Signature __________________________________________________________ Date _______________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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