The Advanced Placement program in United States History (APUSH) is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge comparable with a two-semester introductory college course. As such, it is not a college prep course; it is the real thing. In order to deal critically with the challenges of APUSH, students will evaluate a variety of historical materials, including text, primary resources, scholarly articles, historical novels, and the like. Students will read a minimum of 60 pages per week and should expect to spend two hours working outside of class for each hour in class.
Students will take notes from printed materials and lectures, write article reviews and essays, take quizzes, take tests in objective and essay format, and prepare team presentations. This class is rigorous and demands a yearlong commitment presently unknown to high school students. It is imperative that assignments are completed on time; once behind, it is difficult to catch up. So what is the reward? It is my goal that every student sits for the College Board AP exam administered in May and qualifies for six free college credits. This exam is expected—but not required (cost is $90).
Scores are not reported until mid-July and have no bearing whatsoever on a student’s grade. A score of three or better (on a five point scale) deems the student worthy of free credits at most colleges nationwide; top-shelf colleges require a four. The exam is difficult, but not impossible. The best preparation is a rigorous course, with an emphasis in writing and reading. It is my commitment to you that I will work as hard as you are and give you adequate preparation for this exam. If you choose to rise to the challenge, I guarantee you at the year’s end you can stand toe-to-toe with any college freshman and hold your head high.
This course will test your fiber; it will exhaust you, but nothing worthwhile comes without a fight. Only you can define yourself as a student. Honor Point: There is an honor point earned with this course to compensate for its relative difficulty. I promise you, however, if this is your sole motivation—to inflate your grade point—there are easier ways than this course. Drop now if this is the case. Core Text: Garraty, John A. The American Nation: A History of the United States, 9th edition. New York: Longman, 1998. ISBN 0 321 01296-8 Supplementary Readers: Zinn, Howard.
A People’s History of the United States, Abridged Teaching edition. New York: New Press 1997 ISBN 156 584 379 7 Oates, Stephen. Portrait of America, Vol. 1 and 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995 The “ISBN” numbers will be handy should you choose to purchase the books for yourself on one of many available websites. Grading Policies: A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, E=0-59. Any student failing the course at the end of the semester will be encouraged to drop the course. Grades are comprised of quizzes, exams, essays, article reviews, and team/individual presentations.
Organization: The course is organized into 15 units of study. The instructor will periodically provide unit assignment sheets. Students will complete chapter outlines after reading each chapter, define vocabulary words, compose succinct summaries and thesis statements after reading scholarly articles, complete unit exams, and prepare presentations. Students need to stay on target and set a steady pace. Don’t get discouraged. Exams and Quizzes: 1. Exams will generally cover 2 chapters of material. They will include approximately 80 multiple-choice questions and free- response essay uestions. 2. Document-based questions (DBQ) are a special format mirroring the AP exam format; several will be given each semester. Written Assignments: All written assignments must be typed and saved to disk. 1. Students will be required to outline all chapters from the Garraty text. Outlines will range from 4-6 pages and will take students approximately 2-3 hours. 2. 8×11: These are used to show understanding of articles. They include a thesis statement, one quote, three vocabulary words, and important supporting details.
Articles range from 5 to 15 pages; students will receive approximately two per week. 3. Notebooks are encouraged; organization is ESSENTIAL for success. Participation: Collaboration is critical in an advanced placement course. Competition, while natural in this type of course, should be constructive and reserved for the AP exam. The workload is extensive and can often be cooperatively shared with partners. Group preparation is encouraged for all exams and essays; your best weapon can be a committed study group. Form one today!