AP Government and Politics

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 behaviors. 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.

College Course Equivalent

AP U.S. Government and Politics is equivalent to a one-semester introductory college course in U.S. government.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for AP European History. Students should be able to read a college-level textbook and write grammatically correct, complete sentences.

Disciplinary Practices

Practice 1 – Concept Application
Apply political concepts and processes to scenarios in context.
1A Describe political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
1B Explain political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
1C Compare political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
1D Describe political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors illustrated in different scenarios in context.
1E Explain how political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors apply to different scenarios in context
Practice 2 – SCOTUS Application
Apply Supreme Court decisions.
2A Describe the facts, reasoning, decision, and majority opinion of required Supreme Court cases.
2B Explain how a required Supreme Court case relates to a foundational document or to other primary or secondary sources.
2C Compare the reasoning, decision, and majority opinion of a required Supreme Court case to a non-required Supreme Court case.
2D Explain how required Supreme Court cases apply to scenarios in context.
Practice 3 – Data Analysis
Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics.
3A Describe the data presented.
3B Describe patterns and trends in data.
3C Explain possible limitations of the data provided.
3D Explain possible limitations of the visual representation of the data provided
Practice 4 – Source Analysis
Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources.
4A Describe the author s claim(s), perspective, evidence, and reasoning.
4BExplain how the author s argument or perspective relates to political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
4CExplain how the implications of the author s argument or perspective may affect political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
4DExplain how the visual elements of a cartoon, map, or infographic illustrate or relate to political principles, institutions, processes, policies, and behaviors.
Skill 5 – Argumentation
Develop an argument in essay format.
5A Articulate a defensible claim/thesis.
5B Support the argument using relevant evidence.
5B Use reasoning to organize and analyze evidence, explaining its significance to justify the claim or thesis.
5B Use refutation, concession, and rebuttal in responding to opposing or alternate perspectives.

Reasoning Processes

  • Definition/Classification
    • Describe characteristics, attributes, traits, and elements in defining terms and concepts
    • Classify concepts
    • Describe structures and functions
    • Describe patterns and/or trends
    • Describe the perspective of a source or author
    • Describe assumptions and/or reasoning of a source or author
  • Process
    • Identify steps and/or stages in a process
    • Explain how the steps or stages in a process relate to each other
    • Explain challenges with processes and/or interactions
    • Explain the relevance or significance of processes and/or interactions
  • Causation
    • Identify causes and/or effects
    • xplain the reasons for causes and/or effects
    • Explain change over time
    • Explain the significance of causes and/or effects
    • Explain the implications of change over time
  • Comparison
    • Identify relevant categories of comparison
    • Identify similarities and/or differences
    • Explain the reasons for similarities and/or differences
    • Explain the relevance, implications, and/or significance of similarities and differences

Big Idea 1: Constitutionalism

The U.S. Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances among branches of government and allocates power between federal and state governments. This system is based on the rule of law and the balance between majority rule and minority rights.

Big Idea 2: Liberty and Order

Governmental laws and policies balancing order and liberty are based on the U.S. Constitution and have been interpreted differently over time.

Big Idea 3: Civic Participation in a Representative Democracy

Popular sovereignty, individualism, and republicanism are important considerations of U.S. laws and policy making and assume citizens will engage and participate.

Big Idea 4: Competing Policy-Making Interests

Multiple actors and institutions interact to produce and implement possible policies.

Big Idea 5: Methods of Political Analysis

Using various types of analyses, political scientists measure how U.S. political behavior, attitudes, ideologies, and institutions are shaped by a number of factors over time.


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