AP US Government and Politics


     Robert Alley

 Contact Information:


 Printable Syllabus - Click here for an Expanded Syllabus 


Course Description:

AP U.S. Government and Politics accomplishes these goals by framing the acquisition of political knowledge around enduring understandings and big ideas about American government and politics that can be applied to a set of disciplinary practices through the use of a set of reasoning processes. Through the development of this set of political knowledge, disciplinary practices, and reasoning processes, by the end of the course, students will be able to analyze current and historical political events like a political scientist and develop factually accurate, well- reasoned, thoughtful arguments and opinions that acknowledge and grapple with alternative political perspectives.


AP U.S. Government and Politics is a college-level year-long course that not only seeks to prepare students for success on the AP Exam in May, but also provide students with the political knowledge and reasoning processes to participate meaningfully and thoughtfully in discussions and debates that are currently shaping American politics and society. It is important to note that this course is not a history course; it is a political science course that studies the interconnectedness of the different parts of the American political system and the behaviors and attitudes that shape this system and are the byproduct of this system.

The course will be organized around the following units of study:                                                                                                                   (Click on the Units below to access the Content of this Course)

The course also consists of:

  • Two weeks of review for the AP Exam at the end of the course
  • A week for civic engagement project presentations at the end of the course
  • A unit exam at the end of each unit that will be administered over two class periods
  • A one-class period review day in each unit

The political knowledge, enduring understandings, and big ideas acquired and developed in each unit will be applied to the disciplinary practices using the reasoning processes outlined below.


  • American Government: Stories of a Nation by Scott Abernathy and Karen Waples
  • United States Government and Politics: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Exam by David Wollford

Additionally, students will have access to the following free online resources:

  • The National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution – This online resource is an annotated U.S. Constitution that includes essays from multiple perspectives that frame the debates underlying key clauses and provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The National Constitution Center also has a blog that applies constitutional principles to current events.
  • Oyez – This online database provides succinct and accessible overviews for all Supreme Court cases.
  • AP United States Government and Politics reading skills lessons – This resource contains all of the required Supreme Court cases and foundational documents, along with close reading and discussion questions and activities.
  • AP Classroom
  • Google Classroom


It must be understood at the outset that there is extensive reading; it must be completed in advance of the material covered in class.  By reading and completing each day’s assignment before coming to class, the presentation and discussion for that day will mean more to you, and you will find it easier to take notes.  Students are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of all topics treated in the text and the classroom.  Examinations will test for understanding of both the readings and classroom discussions.  Class discussions are intended to embellish the readings, not repeat the material.  Readings, activities, and discussions are all means of carrying on an inquiry into the topic at hand and are meant to supplement rather than duplicate each other (although some repetition and reinforcement is intended and desirable).  Class participation is mandatory!  As stated above, it is expected that students will take the Advanced Placement exam in May and a fee applies. 


Your grade will be based on the following:


See the assignments part of Google Classroom for specific dates.  A test will be given at least at the end of each unit and will consist of Multiple Choice and Free Response Questions. You will also be given a multiple-choice quiz for each chapter covered in the textbook.  You will also be required to write in and out of class essays from time to time.  A semester exam consisting of multiple choice and essay questions will be given near the end of the first semester in December.  The National AP Exam, which is mandatory, will occur toward the end of the second semester in May 2020.   


Reading assignments in the Textbooks and from various other sources will be made almost every night.  See Google Classroom for all current and past assignments.  In addition to the readings, you will have various assignments for each Topic and Unit that will usually be described on AP Classroom as well as Google Classroom.


Three days are allowed for the submission of late work, but there will be a deduction of one letter grade per day.  If you miss a quiz or a test because you are absent from class, you must take the test or quiz as soon as possible.  If you do not take it within three days of your last absence, you will suffer one letter grade penalty per day until you take it.


You must come prepared to learn; personal accountability is crucial.  This means that you must bring all necessary materials and that you do the prerequisite reading.  No materials may be on your desk other than those related to this class, and all work must be your own and consistent with the Honor Code.  This includes Personal Electronic Devices.  These devices should not be visible during class unless you are using them for the class.  During tests and quizzes these devices will be collected and put out of your reach for the duration of the test or quiz.  This is your classroom, help create an atmosphere of ownership, positive interdependence, honor and trust.  Mutual respect, for property and opinion, is paramount.


Old Course Outline

This is an Old Outline of the Course. There is a Short Outline and a more detailed Long Outline. Click on one of the following Categories to see a specific part of the Outline or click on one of the Outline links to access the entire Outline.