APUSH Course Description

Course Description:  AP US History 

  1. Purpose of the Course: 

AP US History is a college level survey course designed explore major themes, as well as changes and continuities in American history in greater depth.  You will also learn the reading, writing, and historical thinking skills necessary to master course content so that you can approach the redesigned national AP exam in May with confidence.


II. Texts: 

Main text: America’s History, 8th ed., Henretta

Primary source readings from Wheeler and Becker’s Discovering the American Past

Secondary source readings from Madaras and Sorelle’s Taking Sides, Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name, and Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.


III. Supplies:

  • Three ring binder, 10 dividers, and lotsa loose leaf paper
  • pencils and blue or black pens
  • ·optional: spiral notebook for IDs

And, purchase this for sharing, based upon the first letter in your last name:

  • (A-G) a pack of glue sticks, (H-N) scotch tape, (O-S) color pencils, (T-Z) fun markers


IV. Assignments and Grading:

  1. Assignments: Theme IDs will be assigned for each unit as a major grade. Daily grades will include quizzes, paideia work, and skill-building work such as mapping, theme timeline development, writer’s workshop pieces, source reading, etc. As the national exam is the ultimate assessment for which this class prepares you, tests and essays in the style found on the national exam are weighted very heavily.
  2. Notebook:  Organization is key to success in a year-long college level course, so a tidy, complete notebook organized by units will be kept and graded each 9 weeks.

    Dividers should be labeled Periods 1-9 and Project.

  3. Class averages will be calculated as follows: 
    • 20% tests, 20% essays, 20% daily work/projects
    • 10 % IDS, quizzes, notebook, and class participation.
    • Mandatory semester exams will count 25% of your final average for each semester.
  4. Test Scores: In class multiple choice test scores will not be curved. This is different from on the actual AP exam where raw scores are curved as follows. 
    • 80+ is a level 5, 70-79 is a level 4, 60-69 is a level 3, below 59 will not receive college credit
    • Students are encouraged to improve, not make immediately make traditional As.  Essay scores are weighted equally with MC and will bring averages back up!
  5. Research Project:  Each student will be required to create a second semester long-term project as an individual or in a group.  The project topic and format will be of your choice as long as they reflect this year’s theme of “Taking a Stand in History”.  Grades will be weighted in a variety of ways depending on the task.
  6. Required exams include a/an:
    • AP style “mid term” exam at the end of first semester
    • after school practice AP exam before the national exam
    • onational AP exam on May
  7. The lowest daily grade will be dropped each nine weeks if a signed progress report is returned.

V. Classroom Expectations:

  1. Be prepared for class.
  2. Be involved in learning. 
  3. Be respectful of others and their property.
  4. Follow the sign out policy correctly.
  5. BYOD policy:  Personal devices should be put away at the classroom door.  They should only be visible and in use when explicitly permitted by the teacher for learning purposes.


VI. Classroom Consequences:

    • First offense: conference and immediate clean up task
    • Second offense: 1/2-hour detention and a call home


VII. Sign Out Policy:

Plan your day wisely to minimize the need to sign out during class. You must sign out on the log by the door and carry the class pass with you when you leave the room.

VIII. Homework and Make-Up Work:

1. Only 1 late homework or class work assignment will be accepted per grading period unless student has been absent.  A signed progress report will drop a lowest daily or quiz grade.

2. The standard school make-up work policy will be followed: miss one day and get two days to make up the work.

3. Check for make-up work in the vertical organizer in the window corner for the folder with the handouts you missed.  Work due dates are posted on the white board.

4. Canvas will be our online LMS.  Notifications for due dates as well as online assignments will be posted here.  We will download the app on the first day so you can set up notifications early!


IX. Study Skills:

Study is to learning what practice is to a sport. Just as one has to practice a sport in order to perfect the skills needed to play the game well, one has to do the same in an academic class to truly gain new skills and learning.  Unlike a sport, however, where a coach monitors your every move, academic practice is largely unmonitored.  To really learn new material you must discover the most effective way to study (practice new learning) and discipline yourself to do so regularly.  Suggestions:

  • read over that day’s class notes at night
  • highlight and quiz yourself on key terms in your notes each night
  • complete IDs for the day
  • do your homework incrementally over several nights—not at the last minute

Most important for quality study: remove all technological distractions from your homework space!


X. Need Help?  Contact me at kimberly.yurkovich@bcsemail.org.

Also, at my teacher website you will find posted a calendar of due dates, syllabus, and snow day work.