AP periodically updates course frameworks to reflect current developments in each discipline, ensure alignment with introductory college courses, and more clearly communicate the required course content and skills.
The AP U.S. Government and Politics course was revised significantly for the 2018-19 school year, and since then we’ve received feedback on ways to improve and clarify the course framework. As a result, clarifying updates to the AP U.S. Government and Politics Course and Exam Description (CED) will take effect with the 2023-24 school year (spring 2024 AP Exam).
The updated framework clarifies key terms and simplifies course structure.
These updates provide additional details and definitions for key terms. Additionally, the updated course framework includes several structural changes that make it easier to understand course goals:
- Simplified coding now ties the essential knowledge statements and learning objectives to the course units and topics (rather than big ideas and enduring understandings). This will help teachers and students immediately identify the relevant topic and unit of instruction for each learning objective and essential knowledge statement.
- Disciplinary practices are now called course skills, and reasoning processes have been removed from the framework to simplify and streamline expectations about the skills students need to demonstrate on the exam and to reduce confusion between the reasoning processes and the skills. This update better reflects the terminology used across other AP frameworks.
New charts connect course content with required documents.
The updated CED now includes charts that cross-reference required course documents (foundational documents and Supreme Court cases) with required course content. These cross-reference charts show the multiple entry points throughout the course framework where teachers can make connections between the course content and required documents.
Roe v. Wade remains part of Topic 3.9.
Because the Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v. Wade with the decision handed down in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), Roe is no longer one of the Supreme Court cases for which students are expected to know the facts, issue, holding, reasoning, decision, and majority opinion for Free-Response Question (FRQ) 3 on the AP Exam.
Instead, the course framework now includes Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Roe v. Wade (1973), and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) as part of the required content in Topic 3.9, Amendments: Due Process and the Right to Privacy. As such, the inclusion of these three cases will facilitate conversations about their connections to each other and with respect to due process and the right to privacy. Each of these three cases can appear in exam questions about Topic 3.9, but none of them will be the focus of FRQ 3.
The exam structure remains unchanged.
The description of the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam in the CED remains unchanged except for minor refinements to the rubric for FRQ 4: Argument Essay. These minor edits were made to improve clarity and scorability of this question.
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What to Expect
- Summer 2023: An updated course and exam description (CED) is released on AP Central. AP Summer Institutes begin training with the updated framework. AP Classroom resources align with the updates.
- Fall 2023: AP U.S. Government and Politics teachers will implement the updated framework in their classrooms.
- May 2024: Students will take AP U.S. Government and Politics Exams that align with the updated framework.
Who was involved in the course updates?
College and university faculty, classroom teachers, and civic organizations, including the National Constitution Center, provided input. The Development Committee played an integral role in reviewing, editing, and approving this update.
Will I have to submit a new syllabus for the course audit?
No, there is no need to submit a new syllabus. If your course is currently authorized to use the AP designation, it will continue to be eligible for renewal by your school administrator.
If you are submitting a syllabus for a new course in the 2023-24 school year: The syllabus development guide and sample syllabi have been revised to reflect the updates.