AP Comparative Government

AP Comparative Government
Spring 2020

AP Comparative Government and Politics is a semester-long course intended as a introduction to college-level international studies that uses the "comparative method" to engage relative differences between systems of government, economies and civil societies around the world.  This course is a case-study of six nations in particular: Nigeria, Mexico, China, Russia, Iran and the United Kingdom.  We will also be studying non-governmental and supra-governmental organizations like the United Nations, the EU, and the African Union to understand the roles and limitations of international partnership and cooperation among nations more generally.  Our final project in Comparative Government is a Model UN simulations based on a current scenario.  You can learn more about this course and the AP exam by visiting the Course Home Page at AP Central.   
Course Elements
In addition to the curriculum framework mandated by the College Board for these courses, students will be required to complete several outside reading assignments, a long-term investigative journalism project, an extended Model UN Security Council simulation as well as a number of in-class simulations related to democratization, authoritarianism, and challenges related to corruption and under-development.  

Daily Schedule





T, 1/21

Democratic Regimes


Representation Systems


Chapter 5



Democratization Reflection due

W, 1/23

Authoritarian Regimes


Chapter 6

Wood Excerpt (read pp. 23-31)

Representation Scheme Exercise due.

F, 1/25

Review the chapters, in-class notes and the practice MC items found at the end of each chapter.


Exam 2

Barron’s 5-6

M, 1/27

United Kingdom

Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Chapter 7



Unitary Systems and UK Institutions




Parliament and Coalitions Simulation




Civil Liberties and constitutionalism in the UK



F, 1/31

Devolution and the Fate of Scotland

UK Chart due


M, 2/3

Britain’s Party System

Party / Coalition Simulation



History and Tradition




New Labour, Brexit and Boris Johnson

Johnson's Goals (article)



Britain in the World


Exam 3, part 1

Barron's 7 (UK)

F, 2/6

Part 2


Exam 3, part 2

Barron’s 7 (UK)





M, 2/10

Introduction to Russia


Chapter 8

Exam 3, #15 due

(UK-Russia Comparison)


Russian History and Culture


(Russia group must send a news story to me each day by the end of 2nd at wilson.jones@bcsemail.org)



Revolutions: 1917 and 1991




Russia since the USSR




Putin’s Regime



M, 2/17

Political Institutions

Russia chart due



Civil Society, Parties and Interests

The Putin Generation (WaPo)
The Putin Generation (CNBC)



Putin’s Presidential System




Foreign and Domestic Policy

No school today.  Please check here for updates to the schedule.




If we miss Friday, be ready for Exam 4 on our first day back.

Exam 4

Barron’s 8 (Russia)





M, 2/24

Introduction to China


Chapter 9

Exam 4, part 2 due

(Russia-China Comparison)


Chinese History and Culture


(China group must send a news story to me each day by the end of 2nd at wilson.jones@bcsemail.org)



Imperial and Nationalist China




Mao and the Communists (1949)




Modern Chinese Institutions



M, 3/2

The CCP and Civil Society

China chart due



Xi’s Vision for China




China’s Greatest Challenges




Foreign and Domestic Policy






Exam 5

Barron’s 9 (China)

What are “Spongy Terms”?

Rather than a traditional “term identification” style assessment, “spongy term” exams require students to soak up additional context, complexity, and connections in order to apply course concepts to the real world.  Here are the FOUR distinct tasks that students are asked to complete for the term assigned:

  1. Define: Provide a short definition of your term.
  2. Connect: Explain how your term is connected or related to at least two other terms on the list.  Describe the relationship between these terms, how they influence or relate to one another in a manner that showcases some depth of knowledge, not just semantics.
  3. Apply: Explain how this term does or may apply to you, to current events or the present more generally; or you can create a hypothetical scenario to show off what you have learned about how this term applies to the “real world.”
  4. Evaluate: Consider either the pros or cons related to this term, a cost benefit analysis that considers either its benefits or liabilities as a political concept; or you can create an “alternate hypothesis” that argues against conventional wisdom or prevailing values associated with this term.