Robert A. Crawford.
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Comparative Politics contains subject matter of almost limitless diversity. A political scientist interested in comparative government and politics might be found sifting through a computer analysis of a recent election, analyzing political history, interviewing a government official, or even observing a protest demonstration. However, the basic core of the discipline is the attempt to find common elements in the essence of political activity, dispute resolution, and the manner in which power is obtained, exercised and controlled. The study of Comparative Politics concerns the behavior, institutions, processes, ideas, and values which are present in more than one country, and searches for those distinct patterns, similarities, and differences that help clarify the basic nature, structure, and beliefs of individual political regimes.
The Advanced Placement Comparative Government class covers a body of knowledge equivalent to that which a student would be expected to master in an introductory college course in Comparative Politics or Political Science. It will give the student a good basic understanding of the world's diverse political structures and practices, and will encompass the study of both specific countries and of general concepts used to interpret the key political relationships found in virtually all national polities. Students enrolled in this course will take the Advanced Placement Examination in Comparative Government and Politics.
The 2013 AP Examination in Comparative Government will be held during the afternoon session of Monday, May 3. This examination is approximately two hours and twenty-five minutes long, and consists of a 45-minute multiple-choice section and a 100-minute essay section. Section I, the multiple-choice section, contains 60 questions and will account for approximately 50% of the final composite score. Section II, the free-response section of the examination, consists of three mandatory sections. The first question will consist of 5 definition and description items on basic concepts in political science; the second question will be a free response bullet essay concerning abstract conceptual and structural analysis; the last two questions will be free response bullet essays focusing on the six themes used in the course (history and political culture, social divisions, the formal structures of government, forms of participation, leadership groups, and policy issues), and will involve comparisons between the six "core" countries (Britain, China, Russia, Mexico, Iran, and Nigeria). Students will be required to provide specific examples in evaluating general principles of comparative government and politics, and will be expected to demonstrate analytic and organizational skills in writing the essays. The multiple-choice section and the free-response section of the examination will have equal weight.
In preparation for the AP examination, this course will be divided into three parts: basic political philosophy and contemporary regime types; cultural propensities and comparative analysis; and individual country studies. The third and final section--which will span roughly half the course--will provide concrete examples of different processes and institutions by focusing on the core countries of Great Britain, the European Union, the Russian Federation/Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Iran, and Nigeria. The class will be run in a seminar fashion: students will be responsible for research projects, formal presentations, current events, and group discussions. There will be approximately three research papers or essay examinations, and three multiple choice tests per trimester. There will be a Trimester Examination. Grades will be based on research papers, test scores, quizzes and class participation. Practice Essays for the examination may be found at the College Board Advanced Placement Comparative Government Homepage.