Mrs. Knapp AP US/Comp Gov’t & Politics

Mrs. Knapp 2013-2014

Advanced Placement

U.S. Government & Politics and Comparative Government & Politics

Class Syllabus

Course Description

Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics along with Advanced Placement Comparative Government and Politics provides a yearlong course on government. This course prepares students by developing the skills necessary to gain insight and understanding regarding the structures and functions of a diversity of governments. The course will focus on the United States and six core comparative countries (Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran).

This is a college level course designed to prepare the student to take two Advanced Placement Examinations, administered by the College Board and Educational Testing Service, on May 13, 2014 (US) and May 16, 2014 (Comparative). For students who achieve a score of 3, 4 or 5 some universities and/or colleges may grant credit, advanced placement or both, for taking a one-semester introductory college course in United States Government and Politics and/or Comparative Government and Politics. Students should check with the admissions office of the college or university they are interested in attending to determine what the policy is for that institution. The components of this combination government course will be studied from September 2013 through May 2014 time for review. The remainder of the academic year, mid-May through the first week of June, will be devoted to the Virginia Standards of Learning; the student will be introduced to the governmental institutions at the state and local levels. Additionally, students will be responsible for completing a culminating group project.

Students should understand that this course requires extensive reading and staying up to date on current events. Although we touch on some history, this is not a history course, but closer to a current events course. Students will be expected to interpret current issues and the information covered to draw conclusions and create explanations. We will be working on higher level critical thinking and creating a comprehensive knowledge bank of government and politics. It is expected that students will need to complete work on their own time in order to facilitate a lively discussion in class. Also, students are required to read one additional book per quarter, plus write a paper answering questions from the book. I will assign the book or give a selection to choose from.

Classroom Guidelines

I expect all students to:

·  be on time. This means in your seat and not talking. I will strictly follow the school policy on tardies and absences. Please refer to the Student Handbook.

·  come to class with a positive attitude and ready to learn.

·  respect fellow students, teacher, and class guest.

·  be courteous to everyone in the classroom. This means no improper language, even if it is meant to be a joke.

·  abide by the school rules as stated in the Student Handbook.

·  keep all cell phones and electronic devices away during class. Cell phones will be turned off and placed in the front of the room during all tests and quizzes. They will remain there the entire block and time will be allotted at the end of class to pick them up. All other times students are expected not to use these devices. If it becomes a consistent problem, electronic devices will be placed in the front of the room each class.

Activities and Methods of Evaluation

Students will participate in and will be evaluated on the following:

·  homework, tests and quizzes

·  class discussions and debates

·  classwork such as, worksheets, charts, graphs, in-class writing, and more

·  group and individual projects and presentations

·  technology, such as, word processing, Internet, and various software programs

·  field trips

·  practice examinations


Grading Policy

1.  Grades will be computed based on the school policy, which is as follows: A+=100-98%, A=97-93%, A-=92-90%, B+=89-87%, B=86-83%, B-=82-80%, C+=79-77%, C=76-73%, C-=72-70%, D+=69-67%, D=66-63%, D-=62-60%, F=59% and below.

2.  Individual grade will be calculated on a total points basis.

3.  Late work will be accepted for ½ credit up until the end of the unit, at that time it will no longer be accepted and a zero will be given for the assignment.

4.  If absent, it is the student’s responsibility to make up missed work and get notes in a timely fashion. That means not longer than 1 week after absence, unless other arrangements have been made in advance. After 1 week, if not made up, the assignment will receive a zero.

5.  If a student is in school part of the day an assignment is due or misses class due to a field trip, the assignment must be turned in before the student leaves the building or else it is considered late.

6.  If there are extenuating circumstances and an assignment cannot be completed or a student needs to miss class, please let me know as soon as possible. I cannot help, if I am not aware of the situation.

7.  A student may email an assignment, but it requires a confirmation email from me. If you do not receive an email back from me, assume that I did not receive it and be prepared to turn in a paper copy of the assignment on time.

8.  All work is due at the beginning of class. Work turned in after it has been collected, will be considered late.

9.  Extra credit is available on most quizzes. It will also be assigned at my discretion. No extra credit will be given on an individual basis. It is either available for the entire class or it is not assigned. If you study and complete all assignments each quarter, extra credit will not be needed.

10.  Extra credit is not available on make-up quizzes. Most questions are current event questions and pertain to events that occurred surrounding the day of the quiz. If questions are pre-printed on the quiz, they may still be answered for extra credit.

11.  I will do my best to keep the Homework Calendar portion of my website up to date, but sometimes due dates have to be changed. This can be a result of several things, including snow days, school assemblies, etc. Please remember that what is said in class supersedes all due dates on the Homework Calendar.


1.  Bring school agenda book to class every day to make note of important due dates and to use as your hall pass.

2.  Bring textbook and reader to class when needed. We probably will not use the textbook in class, but the reader will be used when readings are due. It is beneficial to the student to have the reader when we are discussing the assigned readings. Classroom books are available, but there are not enough for the entire class.

Kesselman, Mark and Joel Krieger. Introduction to Comparative Politics. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013.

Wilson, James Q. and John J. Dilulio, Jr. American Government: Institutions and

Policies, 8th edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Company, 2001.

Woll, Peter. American Government: Readings and Cases. 16th Edition. New York:

Pearson Longman, 2006.

3.  We will be discussing current events throughout the year, so please read a newspaper or news magazine on a consistent basis, so that we can have class discussions about what you have read. This includes The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News & World Report as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.

4.  In addition to the text and reader, students will be responsible to have copies of additional readings assigned throughout the year. They can either be purchased, checked out from the library, or borrowed from me.

5.  There will be no formal notebook check, however, I suggest using a 3” binder with dividers to keep track of all information and assignments.

Topics to Be Covered

Unit 1: Introduction to US and Comparative Government

Unit 2: Constitutional Underpinnings of the United States Government

Unit 3: Great Britain and The European Union

Unit 4: US Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Unit 5: China

Unit 6: US Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media

Unit 7: Mexico

Unit 8: US Elections

Unit 9: Elections (SMD, Winner Take All, First Past the Post, etc.)

Unit 10: Nigeria

Unit 11: Congress and the Presidency

Unit 12: Russia

Unit 13: US Judiciary, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Unit 14: Iran

Unit 15: US Bureaucracy

Unit 16: US Public Policy

I am available if a student needs extra help or clarification of an assignment. However, please let me know in advance when you plan to stop by, so that I can expect you and be ready to help. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this syllabus or the class. I am very excited about this course and I hope we can have a fun and exciting year.

Welcome to AP U.S. Government & Politics and Comparative Government & Politics!

Mrs. Knapp’s Contact Information

(571) 252-2800

Mrs. Knapp AP Gov’t & Politics

Please return by Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

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