AP US History

Course Syllabus

Advanced Placement United States History


Marion Truslow, Ph.D.

Course Description: see details on the College Board https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse/ap-united-states-history

The Advanced Placement Program in United States History is intended for qualified students who wish to complete studies in secondary school equivalent to a college introductory course. The primary aim of the course is to prepare students for satisfactory performance on the Advanced Placement examination in United States History. Also, the course is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with problems and materials in United States History (documentary materials, maps, statistical tables, pictorial evidence, and so on). This course aids in the development of the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. Students will also be required to write critical book reviews and/or research papers.

Goals and Objectives: To stress effective writing skills and critical reading of documentary (primary) as well as interpretive sources.

To emphasize content as well as critical analysis.  It is imperative that students have a firm foundation in historical fact and a strong sense of perspective as a basis for analysis.

To aid the student in learning to handle the tools of historical study – research, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of information. 

To provide a strong emphasis on geography, both physical and cultural, and the role of geographical/environmental factors in history.

To promote awareness of both the world role of nations and the individual role of a responsible citizen.

To present material in a way that will enable students to relate their experiences in history to other areas of study/experience.  

To engage the students in active learning with an experiential component.

See history standards and History Department section of RGNS Curriculum Guide.

Assessment Procedures: The assessments consist of multiple-choice tests, essays, short papers, class discussion and preparation. These mirror the expectations of the AP Exam.

Policies and Grading: Homework: Most of the homework in this course will involve extensive readings. These readings are of the utmost importance in taking an active role in the learning experience. Other homework will include novels, essays, vocabulary, and projects. Homework is not to be seen as a collaborative effort, unless otherwise instructed. The time needed for homework in an AP course is far beyond that of a regular course. You should plan to set aside part of every weekend, holidays, and significant time every day to prepare for class. All due dates for major assignments will be given with plenty of advance notice. Late assignments will be counted off ten points for every day late. Due means at the beginning of the period, not on a disk or at the dorm. No make-up is allowed after five days except in extenuating circumstances. A student who is absent is expected to get the assignment/s for that day and should be prepared for class the very day he or she returns. See the RG-NS handbook for details regarding make-up work. Quizzes may be given on reading assignments. All tests will be comprehensive. The tests/debates/projects will count 95%, class participation/homework, 5%.  AP work requires the highest effort and grading will be very scrupulous. Guidelines for performance grade are: Excellent – always prepared, always timely in turning in assignments, always focused and engaged in class, always a positive and significant contributor to the class with exemplary conduct and support of others, always passionate and diligent about every aspect of the class. Good – mostly prepared, focused, and engaged in class with few lapses in this area, passionate and diligent with very few exceptions, timely completion of assignments, good conduct, support of others. Fair – late assignments, lack of focus in class, lack of positive and significant contribution to class, distraction of others, poor conduct. Poor – general lack of commitment to successful work and course, lack of positive and significant contribution to class, poor conduct, distraction of others, lack of focus, detraction from success of course. Performance grades by their very nature are somewhat subjective, so be sure and avoid gray areas and any doubt on the part of the instructor what your performance is. A good grade in the course does not necessarily lead to a good performance grade.

Course Texts and Materials:

Foner, Eric, Give Me Liberty! (New YorkW. W. Norton, 2014)  3rd edition

Boyer, Clark, Kett, Salisbury, Sitkoff, Woloch, The Enduring Vision. (Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Co., 2008)–used for reference as needed

Supplemental Readings Books: suggested for reference, not required

Carol Hymowitz and Michaele Weissman, A History of Women in America.  (New York: Bantam Books, 1978)

Davidson and Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  (New York: Penguin Group, 1966)

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States. (New York:  Harper Perennial, 2005)

Larry Madras and James SoRelle, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. (McGraw-Hill, 2004)

William Graebner and Leonard Richards, The American Record: Images of the Nation’s Past. (McGraw-Hill, 2005)

Assignments: See assignments on the Gap. every weekend and some holidays will be needed to complete the coursework.

I expect students to respect the person and property of others. I expect students to put forth strong effort every day, and I expect students to follow the guidelines for behavior as set forth in the student handbook. Demerits may be given for infractions.