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AP Government Jazmin Villalpando 2017/2018

12th Grade

Course Overview/Description
This course explores the political theory and everyday practice that direct the daily operation of our
government and shape our public policies. The express purpose of this course is to prepare students to take
the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam. The course is for all intents and purposes taught on a college
level, and it requires a substantial amount of reading and preparation for every class.

The objectives of this course go beyond a basic analysis of how our government works. Students will develop
a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the American political system, as well as their rights
and responsibilities as citizens.

Grade Level Project

This course functionally integrates Government with Business, Mathematics, and English classes.

Grading Criteria:
Mastery Learning:
The SAE has adopted the Mastery Learning model of standards-based grading. This means that students are
evaluated based on specific standards (things students need to know and be able to do), rather than on a point
system. Students will no longer be given points towards their final grade for completing work or simply
participating. A student must demonstrate their knowledge and abilities on a variety of different assessments
(quizzes, oral, quizzes, discussions, tests, essays, reports, speeches, projects, presentations, portfolios) and all of
the standards the students demonstrated in each assessment are evaluated separately on a 4-point rubric
(4=Advanced, 3=Proficient, 2=Basic, 1=Below Basic). This allows students to easily see which concepts they
understand and can put to use (Mastery of a standard) and on which concepts they need more practice and

Final Course Mark Grade Scale

Final grades are determined by the percent of standards that are mastered, not by the average grade of
assignments completed.
Retakes for summative assessment are not to exceed two weeks.

4-Advanced A 85-100%

3-Proficient B 70-84%

2-Basic C 60-69%

1-Below Basic No Credit 0-59%

Students will need to bring to class:
100pages, college-ruled, notebook, bound composition book, or binder used only for Government
Day planner, agenda, or calendar
o Or if preferred a mini stapler. (Students will attach assignments to their notebook)
(Optional) Various art supplies for projects involving drawing, coloring, cutting, and pasting

Late Work Policy:

When a student fails to turn an independent practice/summative/formative assessment in on time they lose the
ability to retake/redo the assessment for the unit.

Assessment Retake Policy:

Students are permitted on retake within two weeks of the original assessment date. If the assessment is
designated Formative (Quiz, etc), students are required to attend one hour of tutoring prior to the retake. If the
assessment is designated Summative (unit assessments, major essays and projects), students are required to
attend at least two hours of tutoring prior to the retake.

Drop-in tutoring times are Tuesday and Thursday from 3:45 4:45. Ms.Villalpando is also available most
days before and after school by appointment.

Student Expectations
All class participants are expected to showcase the following behaviors:
Students must make every effort to learn.
Students must not hinder other students learning.
Active participation is a requirement. When there is something to do, do it.
Collaborate. Work together to accomplish what you cannot accomplish alone.
Help each other. Tutoring a classmate helps the school, and it helps you learn better, too!

Ms. Villalpando Classroom Norms

Ms. Villalpando will regularly arrange her students desks according to the needs of the activity for the
day. DO NOT MOVE THE DESKS AROUND unless specifically asked to do so.
Electronics must be turned off when class starts
Backpacks and unnecessary materials must be kept off the desks during class activities.
Be in your seat early. Ms. Villalpando starts class on time.
Ms. Villalpando ends class, not the bell.

Teaching Strategies and Activities

The course is evenly divided between lecture and Socratic seminar. Students are responsible for keeping up
with events in the news. Each class begins with a discussion of current events (public policy, international
relations, etc.). The current events provide concrete connections for each lesson.

Course Readings
There are two required texts for this course:

Government in American: People, Politics, and Policy

Ms. Villalpandos Reader
Assorted Articles and Primary Documents

These readings will be supplemented with classroom handouts throughout the semester.

Current Events
Students are responsible for keeping up with the daily events in the nation and the world. Students will need to
skim the front page of The Washington Post or Washington Times; listen to NPR or another radio news
program; watch a TV news station, such as CNN; or access a reliable online source.
Using Graphs, Maps, and Charts
Students are tested on their understanding of quantitative and visually presented information (maps and
graphs) at regular intervals in the quiz assignments. They are also responsible for including data analysis and
interpretation in the cumulative project assignment.

Foundations of American Government
Political Socialization and Identity
Mass Movement Politics: Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Movement
Campaigns and Elections
Public Policy and the Institutions of National Governance: Congress, Presidency, Judiciary, and
Case Studies in Public Policy: Who sets policy agendas for our nation?
Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Project: Political Party Affiliation Project (Portfolio Assignment)


Socratic Seminars
Every other unit there will be a Socratic Seminar. All students are expected to participate and this is considered
a summative assessment and will be part of your grade.

Every student must have a notebook/binder that will work as their portfolio for the unit. At the end of each unit
I will check for completion of notes and annotations. Notebooks are due at the end of each unit.

Additional Summative Assessments

Additional summative assessments may by assign throughout the year.