Course of study advanced placement united states history I. Introduction

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Larkspur, California

A. General Purpose: (From “Advanced Placement (AP) Purpose of Course, US History.” College Board 2003.)
The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by a full-year introductory college course. Students should learn to assess historical materials – their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance – and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An AP United States History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence and persuasively in essay format.
B. This course will address the following district graduation outcomes:
#1 Communicate articulately and persuasively when speaking and writing.

#2 Read/ view and analyze material in a variety of disciplines

#3 Use technology to access information, analyze and solve problems and communicate ideas

#4 Demonstrate knowledge of individual rights and responsibilities in a democratic society

#10 Analyze current issues from historical, political, economic, geographic and multicultural perspectives.
C. Articulation with other courses:
Advanced Placement United States history is offered in the place of standard United States History which is a graduation requirement. AP US History will complement and reinforce other courses throughout the district curriculum such as: World Cultures and Geography, World History, Government, Economics, and Contemporary Issues in the Social Studies department; Art Exploration and Art History in the Fine arts department; and American Literature and other English electives such as: Contemporary Literature, Immigrant Experience and Advanced Placement Composition & Language.
D. Course Goals:
Because the course has the designation ”AP” and carries the privilege of an enhanced grade point, the class places high expectations on students and has many goals. The primary short term goal of this course is to prepare students to demonstrate their knowledge and earn college credit by passing the College Board AP US History exam. The exam is a rigorous combination of multiple choice and essay questions. Moreover, there are other equally important goals for this course. These include: to allow capable students to learn at a rate commensurate with their ability; to deal with materials that intellectually mature students find engaging and challenging; to refine reading, writing speaking, research and analytic skills important for success in college and the professional world; and to cultivate an appreciation for the variety of people and events that have come to define us as a nation.

  1. Outcomes for Student Work:

  1. Students will be prepared to earn a passing score or three (3) or better on the College Board AP US History exam.

  2. Students will analyze significant issues and conflicts during major periods of United States history, taking into account multiple perspectives. To present their analyses, students will be required to write frequent in-class times essays as well as take-home essays. These essays will be modeled after those on the College Board AP exam and include both free response questions (FRQ’s) and document based questions (DBQ’s). When applicable, students may be asked to display learning using several different media, such as, debates, presentations or graphic works such as political cartoons and computer programs such as power point.

  1. Students will record historical information and analyze the course material. To achieve this goal, student activities may include note taking, analysis of primary source accounts, questions on assigned readings, interpreting political cartoons, reading a variety of primary source and secondary source materials, and other assignments.

  1. Course Content:

Students will build a systematic base of factual knowledge of United States History from the first encounter with Europeans to recent times. This base of content knowledge will include political, economic, social, diplomatic ands intellectual themes. The following topic outline is taken from the “Advanced Placement United States History Course Guide” published by the College Board. California State Framework Standards for United States History in


Discovery & Settlement of the New World, 1492-1650

America and the British Empire, 1650-1754

Colonial Society in the Mid-Eighteenth Century

Road to Revolution, 1754-1775

The American Revolution, 1775-1783 (11.1)

Constitution & the New Republic. 1776-1800

The Age of Jefferson, 1800-1816

Antebellum Nationalism & Economic Expansion

The Age of Jackson, 1828-1840

Antebellum Culture, Religion & Reform (11.3)

Territorial Expansion & Sectional Crisis, 1820-1860

The Civil War, 1861-1865

Reconstruction to 1877

End of the Western Frontier

Industrialization of the Gilded Age, 1865-1900 (11.2)

Urban Society of the Gilded Age, 1865-1900

National Politics of the Gilded Age, 1865-1900

Foreign Policy, 1865-1914 (11.4)

The Progressive Era, 1900-1920

World War I, 1914-1920

New Era: The 1920’s (11.5)

Great Depression & New Deal, 1929-1941 (11.6)

Foreign Policy & World War II, 1930-1945 (11.7)

Cold War Foreign Policy, 1946-1968 (11.9)

Domestic Political & Economic Trends, 1952-1968 (11.8, 11.10)

The United States Since 1968 (11.11)

  1. Throughout the different units, the following themes will be addressed:

  1. The expanding role of the federal government

  2. Change in the ethnic makeup of American society and American culture

  3. Movements for equal rights for racial / ethnic minorities and women

  4. The role of the United States as a major world power

  1. Critical Thinking, Research and Reading Skills

  1. AP U.S. History will stress analytical thinking and writing skills as well as utilization of primary sources. These skills will be developed within the context of the above- mentioned themes

  1. Critical Thinking Skills

Data Collecting

  • Formulating questions to use with all sources of data

  • Gathering data from charts, maps and graphs

  • Using current research technology and other reference sources

Information Processing

  • Organizing, arranging, and categorizing information

  • Examining for validity and analyzing accuracy

  • Differentiating between fact and opinion; determining bias

  • Recognizing perspective


  • Synthesizing; formulating theses using historical data

  • Using facts to support opinion

  • Comparing and contrasting human experiences

  1. Communication Skills

  • Ability to produce a coherent essay

  • Ability to give an effective oral presentation

  1. Social Participation Skills

  • Active listening

  • Giving and receiving constructive feedback

  • Respecting conflicting opinions


  1. Means of Student Assessment

Students will be assessed on the learning outcomes primarily via multiple choice examinations and essays. Project-based assessments will also be incorporated whenever possible. Multiple choice tests, free response essays, document based essays, homework questions, oral presentations and research projects may all be forms of assessment throughout the course.

Grading standards and classroom procedures will be set by individual teachers and communicated clearly to students, in writing, at the beginning of the course.

B. Means of Course Assessment

Students are expected to take the College Board AP exam at the end of the course. The national examination may be used for course assessment purposed.

A. A variety of strategies may be used to implement the curriculum and address the student outcomes mentioned

above. The may include discussions, reading and analysis, lectures, research projects, simulations & debates,

group work and guest speakers.

  1. Materials

  1. The adopted text is America’s History by Henretta (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press)

  2. Primary resources are drawn from a variety of sources.

  3. Library and reference sources include various books, magazines, atlases, almanacs, encyclopedias, magazines, poetry, music lyrics and the Internet.

  4. Audio-visual resources may include, music, documentary films, photographs, graphs, and artifacts. These resources maybe accessed in a variety of ways including: CD, CD-ROM, Video, DVD, slides or Power Point presentations.

  5. School and community resources including guest speakers and community organizations may be accessed.


A. Prerequisites

Criteria for enrollment in AP US History:

1. Strong recommendations from a students 10th grade World History and English teacher using the district adopted form is required.

2. Strong performance on a timed screening essay scored by AP US History teacher

3. A student not selected for failing to meet the criteria above may appeal the decision following the district approved process.
Students must receive a “C-“ in the fall semester in order to continue on in the spring semester.

  1. Requirements Met

This class is a one-year, 10-unit upper-division class that fulfills the United States History requirement for graduation.
This course is accepted by UC/CSU in partial fulfillment of the “a” or “g” requirement.

Approved: 5/24/98

Revised: 8/4/02

Revised: 9/30/03

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