Political Science 150 - American Government and Politics
Dr. William J. Mark
California Government By
American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials. By
Bardes, Shelley, Schmidt. 15th Edition 2009-2010
You can get the 14th Edition of the Bardes textbook but you may find
that the page numbers I reference in the notes may be different.
This course is a survey of the institutions,
process, and problems of the American National Government and the
California State Government. Emphasis is on the development and
principles of the American Constitution, the mechanics of
democratic politics and policy-making, and the nation's and the state's
There will be a total of 4 exams. Every exam
counts since I do not drop any grades. If you look at the
schedule you will see when the exams are scheduled. All the exams
except the final exam will be part multiple choice (80 points) and part
essay (20 points) Questions will come from the on-line
lecture material,the textbooks and from the discussions.
Each of the exams is worth 100 points. A 50 point typed
response to one of 6 questions is due when you come in to take the
You will be taking all your exams in the TLC. They like for you
to make an appointment but will sometimes allow you to just walk
in. Be prepared to show a picture ID. And, once you begin
an exam you are not permitted to leave.
Course Instructions and Strategy There is an document with this
title that explains in detail how the course works and how, where, and
when to take the exams. Be sure to read this document very
I will notify you when the topics for the paper can be accessed.
You may choose from the list of 6 essays to write your essay.
Three of these choice will be the questions you responded to on the
three exams. The other three are based on the discussion board
questions. See the page entitled Instructions for Paper for
complete details on this. These are to be a minimum of 1000
words. But, remember, since you are doing this outside of class
you should try to produce something that impresses me. At any
time you have questions please e-mail me. I do not read drafts of
your papers, so what you submit on the day of the final (or before if
you have it done) is what I grade.
Approximately every week and ½ there will be a discussion
question posted. You will be required to respond to each of the
discussions in a meaningful way. This will be purely subjective
on my part to determine what is "meaningful". Each discussion
board question that you respond to is worth 10 points. There are
no partial points. If I think your response was meaningful you
get the total 10 points. The discussion board questions are only
open for a certain amount of time and once they close that is it.
If you miss a question there are no make-ups so watch for the
announcements that a question has been posted.
Grading I grade strictly by the points. I don’t adjust if
you are even one point away from the next grade up because that leads
to all kinds of problems because someone who was two points away wants
considerations since the person who was one point away received some
and the whole thing gets totally out of control. So, I repeat, I
do not adjust grades – you get what you earned.
Course Points and Grading Scale
The following outlines the possible points:
100 points Grading Scale:
100 - 90 = A
89 – 80 = B
79 - 70 = C
69 - 60 = D
59 and below = F
Course Grading Scale:
500 - 450 = A
449 - 400 = B
399 - 350 = C
349 - 300 = D
299 and Below = F