There are no prerequisites for this course. However, there are some preliminary assessments to help you be aware of the course requirements.
You are required to take the orientation quiz before you continue to ensure that you are ready to begin the course, and then you need to complete the course pretest to measure what you already know. Neither item counts toward your course grade, and you are not expected to know most of what is on the pretest.
This course is based on the learning objectives that are associated with the “big ideas” and “enduring understandings” listed in the AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum framework. Big ideas focus on major concepts in U.S. government. Enduring understandings (EUs) focus on a particular aspect of a big idea to highlight the level of understanding required for AP students to be successful. EUs are numbered to correspond with the big ideas; for example, EU 1.A is the first concept under big idea 1.
1.A. A balance between governmental power and individual rights has been a hallmark of American political development.
1.B. The writing and ratification of the Constitution emerged from the debate about weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation and was the product of important compromises.
1.C. The Constitution creates a complex and competitive policy-making process to ensure the people’s will is accurately represented and that freedom is preserved.
1.D. Federalism reflects the dynamic distribution of power between national and state governments.
2.A. Provisions of the Bill of Right are continually being interpreted to balance the power of government and the civil liberties of individuals.
2.B. The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has been interpreted to prevent the states from infringing upon basic liberties.
2.C. The Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection clause” has often been used to support the advancement of equality.
3.A. Citizen beliefs about government are shaped by the intersection of demographics, political culture, and dynamic social change.
3.B. Widely held political ideologies shape policy debates and choices in American politics.
4.A. Public opinion is measured through scientific polling, and the results of public opinion polls influence public policies and institutions.
4.B. The various forms of media provide citizens with political information and influence the ways in which they participate politically.
4.C. Political parties, interest groups, and social movements provide opportunities for participation and influence how people relate to government.
4.D. Although laws and amendments have expanded voting rights in the U.S., voting participation varies widely from election to election.
4.E. The impact of federal policies on campaigning and electoral rules continues to be contested by both sides of the political spectrum.
5.A. The republican ideal in the U.S. is manifested in the structure and operation of the legislative branch.
5.B. The presidency has been enhanced beyond its expressed constitutional powers.
5.C. The design of the judicial branch protects the court’s independence as a branch of government, and the emergence and use of judicial review remains a powerful judicial practice.
5.D. The federal bureaucracy is a powerful institution implementing federal policies with sometimes questionable accountability.
Glen Krutz, American Government, OpenStax College, 2016.
You can download the PDF, view the text online, or purchase a printed copy through the OpenStax site.
Be aware that the file size is 31MB if you use the download option.
There are 10 units in this course, each consisting of several lessons. Each lesson contains a textbook reading assignment, course readings, and a self-check quiz; the self-checks are ungraded questions that will help you measure your comprehension of the lessons and prepare for the unit quizzes and the final exam.
Each unit has a unit quiz. These quizzes test your ability to analyze and interpret the reading selections. Unit quizzes are each worth 3 percent of your overall course grade, amounting to 30 percent total.
There are also two cumulative reviews (one after unit 5 for units 1–5 and one after unit 10 for the whole course), which are worth a total of 4 percent of the grade.
Like the unit quizzes, these computer-graded assignments consist of multiple-choice questions that will test your understanding of the concepts learned in the course. The first covers the concepts learned in units 1–5; the second covers the concepts learned in units 1–10. Because these assignments cover concepts from several different units, they are longer than the normal unit quizzes. However, they are worth a smaller percentage of your grade to help you relax and use them as refreshers on the important course concepts.
To prepare for these cumulative review assignments, review all of the self-check and unit quiz questions from the previous units, and make sure you review the readings from each lesson. These assignments do count toward your final grade.
You will be completing written assignments for each unit throughout the course. Some units have instructor-graded assignments; other units have self-scored assignments. There is also one extra-credit assignment.
The instructor-graded assignments are worth a total of 34 percent of your course grade. They will help you apply what you have learned in the unit and will prepare you for the written portion of the AP exam.
You will also have self-scored assignments, which are worth a total of 8 percent of your course grade. You will select your score based on the guidelines that are provided with each assignment, and the instructor will spot-check your work on these review items.
The extra-credit assignment is a discussion board topic. You will respond to a question using specific evidence and will give insightful (helpful) comments on posts from other students. This assignment will provide extra practice in providing credible evidence for your arguments.
You will need to submit the assignments in the modules throughout the course before the taking the final exam.
Appendix materials are available in the Course Resources folder and may be helpful in completing your assignments and preparing for the AP exam.
Additionally, the Course Resources folder includes a general discussion board and a course wiki. The discussion board allows students to talk about course topics with each other; the wiki is designed for the instructor to post information that may provide enrichment or to post relevant information for the course.
The final exam is worth 24 percent of your grade and covers reading selections and discussion material that you will study in the course. It consists of about 50 multiple-choice questions.
Your grade in this course is composed of your unit quiz scores, assignment scores, and final exam score. The following table shows the percentages for each assignment.
|Unit 1 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 2 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 3 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 4 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 5 Quiz||3%|
|Cumulative Review 1||2%|
|Unit 6 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 7 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 8 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 9 Quiz||3%|
|Unit 10 Quiz||3%|
|Cumulative Review 2||2%|
|Instructor-Graded Assignment Submissions (1 at 4%, 1 at 6%, and 3 at 8% each)||34%|
|Self-Scored Assignment Submissions (8 at 1% each)||8%|
|E (fail)||59 or below|
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Published by the Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602-1514
These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.
12 computer-graded assignments; 8 self-scored essays; 5 instructor-graded submissions; may be resubmitted once.
1 computer-graded, proctored exam, may retake once, must pass in order to pass the course.
You must pass with a score of sixty percent or higher in order to pass and earn credit for this course. There is a time limit of 50 minutes on the exam. You will not be allowed to reference any notes or course materials.
Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months. You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension.
All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.
Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words.
As determined by your instructor or the BYU Independent Study administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:
First Offense of Plagiarism
Second Offense of Plagiarism