AP U.S. Government and Politics: About the 2018-19 Redesign

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Important Updates

The AP U.S. Government and Politics course and exam pages on AP Central have been updated to feature information and resources for the redesigned course and exam.

About the Redesign

As part of its ongoing process to make AP course and exam materials more effective for teachers and their students, the College Board has redesigned the AP U.S. Government and Politics course and exam for the 2018-19 school year and beyond.

Dedicated teams of AP teachers and higher education faculty worked together on this redesign for four years, gathering wide-ranging input and feedback from the public at-large and experts across the political spectrum. This collaboration is a central and indispensable part of the AP course and exam redesign process.

The result is a clear and balanced approach to the teaching of American government and politics, and an improved course and exam that will benefit teachers and their students.

The course framework has earned the support of the National Constitution Center (.pdf/308K), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that serves as America’s leading platform for constitutional education and debate. The College Board has partnered with the NCC to create a number of free online tools and resources to support teachers and their students.

Key Improvements

  • More room for teachers to cultivate student understanding. The topic outline for the current course has been replaced by a content outline: a focused, detailed description of content that may appear on the AP Exam. This will save teachers from rapid, superficial content coverage, enabling them to spend more time helping students understand key topics in depth.
  • More focus on what students should be able to do with the knowledge they develop. The course framework defines a set of disciplinary practices and reasoning processes that will require students to analyze, compare, interpret, and communicate political information—the same skills and practices that college and university faculty expect students to have after completing the equivalent college course.
  • More emphasis on the U.S. founding documents and other primary sources. A specified set of 15 Supreme Court cases and 9 foundational documents—including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—is now be required study.
  • More emphasis on applied learning. Students will complete a research project or investigation relating a political problem or current issue to the course content.

To see the skills and practices, understand the components of the course framework, and learn more about the required Supreme Court cases and foundational documents, download the course and exam description (.pdf/2.0MB).

Visit the course and exam pages for more resources and details.

The AP Course Audit

Teachers of previously authorized AP U.S. Government and Politics courses need to submit a syllabus that meets the revised curricular requirements through the AP Course Audit in 2018-19. More information and resources are available on the AP Course Audit page.

Resources and Links

Expert Input

The following subject experts and specialists in learning and assessment helped evaluate and redesign the AP U.S. Government and Politics course and exam for 2018-19.