Course Syllabus

 Advanced Placement:

United States Government & Politics

Mr. Pitoniak




The Advanced Placement American Government and politics program is designed to

teach American Constitutional government based on the principles of our government, interpretation of original documents, political beliefs and behavior, political parties and interest groups, national institutions and demanding college level course. Students are required not only to read thoroughly the college level text, but also to augment this material through research and reading of supplemental articles and then critically apply the findings to the political nature of

current governmental policies and analyze the ramification of these policies. One of the primary objectives of this course is to expose students to all areas of information covered on the AP examination. It is imperative that a high level academic environment exist and that the student is dedicated to learning, is highly motivated, and is willing to put forth both in and outside of the classroom the time and effort required for a course of this intensity.


Text Book:

Wilson, James Q., and Dilulio, Jr, John American Government: Institutions and Policies. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 10th edition (2005)


Online Study Guide companion:


Supplementary resources:


Bowen, Catherine Drinker. Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787. Boston: Little, Brown, 1966. Print.


Grade Breakdown:                                                                      Grade Scale:

Projects/Notebook 20%                                                     90 – 100 = A

Class work /daily assignments: 20%                                80 – 89 = B

Tests: 40%                                                                           70 – 79 = C

(Timed with free response questions)

Quizzes (from text): 20%                                                     60 – 69 = D


Student Requirements:


  1. This college level course is an introduction to the U.S. government and Political system. It requires extensive reading, research and preparation. Students are expected to have a complete understanding of assigned readings in advance of coverage in class. Class discussions will embellish the readings NOT restate so BE PREPARD.
  2. Journal Entries: Are required when assigned to demonstrate that the student has completed the assigned reading and can competently demonstrate applied knowledge of constitutional understanding Us Policy making to current event and past events domestic, foreign and economic.
  3. Students are required to watch one of the major Sunday morning news programs with a completed review (which will be provided) every week.
  4. Students are required to maintain a binder of current events three times a week. This binder must include three articles a week with a balance of one domestic policy, one foreign policy and one economic policy. A copy of the article and a one page written reflection of constitutional rationale response to their article.
  5. Students are required to complete numerous activities and projects that will require them to analyze and interpret data from primary documents, political cartoons, political speeches, court cases, and political commentary throughout the course.
  6. Students will be required to conduct their own public opinion poll on “hot button issues” and create charts and graphs to analyze the results and compare their own results to past election data within their community.


Classroom Rules and Expectations:

  1. Be in your seat before the late bell rings, NOT just inside the door (otherwise counted tardy)
  2. Bring everything you will need for class with you everyday we meet.
  3. Follow ALL directions the first time they are given.
  4. Only one person to speak at a time (this shows respect for yourself and others)
  5. Please feel free to bring bottled water to class. Please do not bring other drinks or food as it is against board policy.
  6. Follow ALL classroom rules on the Teacher Expectation and General Information sheet.


Discipline Policy:

Step 1: Verbal correction and/or teacher student conference

Step 2: Detention and Parent contact

Step 3: Parent contact discipline referral to office.



I will follow the board policy for tardiness, absences, and the recovery of missed classes.  There will be NO exceptions.

Late assignments:

You WILL NOT have any! This is college level!


Curriculum Outline:


  1. Constitutional Underpinnings of the US Constitution (chapter 1-6)
  2. Study of American Government
  3. The Constitution
  4. Federalism
  5. Political Culture
  6. Theories of democratic government
  7. Civil liberities/rights.


  1. Political opinions, interests and Organizations (chapters 7-12)
  2. Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and its leaders.
  3. Processes by which citizens learn about politics
  4. The nature, sources, and consequences of public opinion
  5. The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life
  6. Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs behaviors.
  7. Political Parties, Interest Groups, & Mass Media(8-11)


  1. Political parties & elections ( functions, organizations, development, effects on the process, electoral laws and systems)
  2. Interest groups including PAC, Political action committees (range of interests represented, activities of interest groups, effects of interest groups

on the political process, unique characteristics and roles of PASs in the political process)

  1. Mass media (functions and structures of the news media, impacts of the news media on politics, news media industry and its consequences)


  1. Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency, the

Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (chapters 13-16)


  1. Formal and informal institutional arrangements of power
  2. Relationships among these varying balances of power
  3. Linkages between institutions and the following: public opinion and voters, interest groups, political parties, media, state and local governments


  1. Public Policy (chapters 17-22)


  1. Policy making in a federal system
  2. Formation of policy agendas
  3. Role of institutions in the enactment of policy
  4. Role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation
  5. Linkages between policy processes and the following:
  6. Political institutions and Federalism
  7. Political parties

iii. Interest groups

  1. Public opinion
  2. Elections
  3. Policy networks


**The AP United States Government and Politics exam is 2 hours and 25 minutes long. The Exam includes a 45 minute multiple choice section consisting of 60 questions and a 100 minute free response section consisting of 4 questions.


General textbook Breakdown:


First six weeks: Chapters 1-9(reading, quizzes, tests inclusive of analytical and/or free response questions /projects)


Second six weeks: Chapters 9-16 (reading, quizzes, tests inclusive of

analytical and/or free response questions / projects)


Third six weeks: Chapter2 17-22 (reading, quizzes, tests inclusive of

analytical and/or free response questions, projects, & AP Exam)


**AP Exam Grades of 5 are equivalent to A grades, 4 are equivalent to A- /B and

level III equivalent to B- /C in college.



My door is always open... If you have and questions or concerns, do not hesitate to stop by our classroom E3 for assistance. I will do whatever I can to help develop a reasonable and fair solution. I also offer tutoring after school whenever requested in advance.


* The instructor reserves the right to make necessary changes dealing with the Pace,

timeline, or strategies for content order based on needs of time and unforeseen


*Helpful websites for homework:


(Others provided in class and be available via our class Moodle Page)


Student Printed Name: ________________ Parent Printed Name:___________



Student Signature: ___________________ Parent Signature_______________

Course Summary:

Date Details Due