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.
- 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 The topic outline for the current course has been replaced by a content outline: a focused, detailed description of content that may appear on the AP Exam.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).
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
AP U.S. Government and Politics Classroom Resources
AP U.S. Government and Politics Course and Exam Description, Effective 2018
This is the primary document for the redesigned course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and the AP Program in general.
AP U.S. Government and Politics Practice Exam from the CED
This full practice exam from the CED is publicly available and reflects the 2018-19 redesign.
AP U.S. Government and Politics Project Guide from the CED
The 2018-19 redesigned course includes a required project. The required project adds a civic component to the course, engaging students in exploring how they can affect, and are affected by, government and politics throughout their lives. Students should plan a presentation that relates their experiences or findings to what they are learning in the course.
AP Course Audit Resources
Letter of Support from the National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center Resources
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.
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