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AP Language & Composition Course Syllabus
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Niswonger Online & AP Access for ALL Course Syllabus

AP English Language and Composition

Course Description

AP English Language and Composition is an introductory college-level composition course. Students cultivate their understanding of writing and rhetorical arguments through reading, analyzing, and writing texts as they explore topics like rhetorical situations, claims and evidence, reasoning and organization, and style.

Reading Content

This course requires that students engage with written and visual texts that “represent a clear rhetorical situation, consist of a variety of genres,” and texts that might appear in a college introductory composition class (85). As such, “fair representation of issues and peoples may occasionally include controversial material,” and students are expected to maintain “a level of maturity consistent with students who have engaged in thoughtful analyses of a variety of texts” and “have the maturity, skills, and will to seek the larger meaning of a text or issue through thoughtful research” (86).  To maintain a respectful classroom environment, students should be conscientious in all interactions, including those in which peers have opinions different from their own. Disruption to the learning environment, including but not limited to negatively addressing a peer during discussion or peer feedback, will result in consequences.

Full list of reading choices located at the end of this syllabus.

Course Objectives and Skill Categories: This course is designed to help students “write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives” and “focuses on effective reading and writing practices, emphasizing depth of knowledge over breadth” (85).

Using AP Rubrics: All assignments will be graded on an AP standard. The essay scale is from 1-6; multiple-choice assessments are scored 1-5. If you are not thorough in completing assignments and putting forth your best effort, you should not expect an A or B just for attempting to do something.This is a skill-based class, so effort without demonstrating mastery of the skill is not helpful. You must practice building your skills, and you shouldn’t be waiting until the night before these assignments are due to complete them. Extended due dates are purposefully designed to reward students who DO NOT procrastinate.

General AP Writing Rubric: Although there are minor changes to the specificity of each FRQ Rubric, the general guidelines are as follows:

Row A


(0-1 points)

Key Standards: 4.B

Max point value: 1

  • Responds to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible position.
  • Respond to the prompt rather than restate or rephrase the prompt, and the thesis clearly takes a position rather than just stating that there are pros/cons.

Row B




(0-4 points)

Key Standards: 2.A, 4.A, 6.A, 6.B, 6.C

Max point value: 4

  • EVIDENCE: Provides specific evidence from at least three of the provided sources to support all claims in a line of reasoning.
  • AND COMMENTARY: Consistently explains how the evidence supports a line of reasoning.

Scoring Notes:

  • Uniformly offer evidence to support claims.
  • Focus on the importance of specific words and details from the sources to build an argument.
  • Organize and support an argument as a line of reasoning composed of multiple supporting claims, each with adequate evidence that is clearly explained.
  • Writing that suffers from grammatical and/or mechanical errors that interfere with communication cannot earn the fourth point in this row.


Max point value: 1

  • Demonstrates sophistication of thought and/or a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation.
  • This point should be awarded only if the sophistication of thought or complex understanding is part of the student’s argument, not merely a phrase or reference.

Course Outline

This course has a total of assignments that students are required to complete. Any assignments not completed by the course checkpoints or final course due date will become a 0%.

Module 1: Early Edition

Module 2: Argument

Module 3: Romantic Edition

Module 4: Civil Edition

Module 5: Realism Edition

Module 6: Modern Edition

Module 7: Contemporary

Module 8: Student Edition

Grading Policy

The course contains 123 assigned graded with two assignment categories: Major Assignments are 60% and Minor Assignments are 40%.

Big Ideas and Concepts

Reading Skills (R1, R4, R6)

Writing Skills (W1, W2, L2)

Rhetorical Situation –


Individuals write within a particular situation and make strategic writing choices based on that situation.

RHS 1.A - Identify and describe components of the rhetorical situation: the exigence, audience, writer, purpose, context, and message.

RHS 1.B - Explain how an argument demonstrates understanding of an audience’s beliefs, values, or needs.

RHS 2.A - Write introductions and conclusions appropriate to purpose and context of rhetorical situation.

RHS 2.B - Demonstrate an understanding of an audience’s beliefs, values, or needs.

Claims & Evidence – CLE

Writers make claims about subjects, rely on evidence that supports the reasoning that justifies the claim, and often acknowledge or respond to other, possibly opposing, arguments.

CLE 3.A - Identify and explain claims and evidence within an argument. (R1)

CLE 3.B - Identify and describe the overarching thesis of an argument, and any indication it provides of the argument’s structure.

CLE 3.C - Explain ways claims are qualified through modifiers, counterarguments, and alternative perspectives.

CLE 3.A - Identify and explain claims and evidence within an argument. (R1)

CLE 3.B - Identify and describe the overarching thesis of an argument, and any indication it provides of the argument’s structure.

CLE 3.C - Explain ways claims are qualified through modifiers, counterarguments, and alternative


Reasoning &

Organization – REO

Writers guide understanding of a text’s line of reasoning and claims through that text’s

organization and integration of evidence.

REO 5.A - Describe the line of reasoning and explain whether it supports an argument’s overarching thesis.

REO 5.B - Explain how the organization of a text creates unity and coherence and reflects a line of reasoning.

REO 5.C - Recognize and explain the use of methods of development to accomplish a purpose.

REO 6.A - Develop a line of reasoning and commentary that explains it throughout an argument.

REO 6.B - Use transitional elements to guide the reader through the line of reasoning or an argument.

REO 6.C - Use appropriate methods of development to advance an argument.

Style – STL

The rhetorical situation informs the strategic stylistic choices that writers make.

STL 7.A - Explain how word choice, comparisons, and syntax contribute to tone or style.

STL 7.B - Explain how writers creative, combine, and place independent and dependent clauses to show relationships between and among ideas.

STL 7.C - Explain how grammar and mechanics contribute to the clarity and effectiveness of an argument.

STL 7.A - Explain how word choice, comparisons, and syntax contribute to tone or style.

STL 7.B - Explain how writers creative, combine, and place independent and dependent clauses to show relationships between and among ideas.

STL 7.C - Explain how grammar and mechanics contribute to the clarity and effectiveness of an argument.

Course Policies

Commit to Integrity

As a student in this course, you are expected to maintain high degrees of professionalism and integrity.

Cheating is “the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of any dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means.”

Plagiarism is “the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.”

Niswonger Online Plagiarism Policy      

All students will be asked to read the Niswonger Online plagiarism policy and complete an assignment to show understanding BEFORE any work in the course can be accessed or completed. The plagiarism policy and corresponding assignment is linked in the second module, labeled Academic Integrity, within each course. Go to APAA Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Policy to view the plagiarism policy without logging into the course.

Build Rapport

If you find that you have any trouble keeping up with assignments or other aspects of the course, make sure you let your teacher know as early as possible. As you will find, building rapport and effective relationships are key to becoming an effective professional. Make sure that you are proactive in informing your teacher when difficulties arise during the semester so that we can help you find a solution.

Submitting Assignments

All assignments for this course will be submitted electronically through Canvas unless otherwise instructed. If you have any trouble submitting your assignment in Canvas you should contact your teacher or the Niswonger Online Technology team immediately.

Course Enrollment and Drops

Students can only be enrolled in a Niswonger Online course by their home high school’s counselor, AP Liaison, or administrator.

Course drops can only be approved by school personnel (counselor, AP Liaison, or administrator). Online teachers, the APAA director, or APAA Assistant Director cannot approve any course changes. Each school has its own policy on when a student may drop their online course. Please see your school counselor or administrator if you have any questions about this.

AP Access for ALL Late Work Policy

At Niswonger Online and the AP Access for ALL program, we understand the importance of meeting deadlines and developing strong time management skills. To maintain consistency and encourage timely submissions, we have established a firm late work policy. Please click below to review this policy:

Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines—late work will only be accepted with a compelling reason and instructor approval.  If you know of a reason that you cannot meet a deadline, please let your teacher know as soon as possible.  For example, if you will be on a trip and may not have internet access the teacher needs to know before the due date – NOT after the due date.  It is your responsibility to let him/her know ahead of time.  


Viewing Grades and Feedback in Canvas

Points you receive for graded activities will be posted to your Canvas Grade Book. Click on the Grades link on the left navigation to view your grades and feedback.  Your teacher will update the online grades each time a due date has passed. Check back for updated grades and feedback 3-4 days after submission.

It is also important to read or view all feedback given by your teacher. This is how a student will grow within the course. Feedback can be viewed from your Canvas gradebook by clicking on the small icon- out from your numerical grade.


If you have course related questions such as questions about due dates, assignment directions, lesson material, etc. please contact your instructor immediately via Canvas message (if courses have started) or via direct email (if courses have not started). Your instructor's email and name can be found after logging in by clicking on Course Information or can be found on the homepage of your course after classes begin.

After courses begin, all communications between instructor and student should happen from Canvas Messaging.

If you need technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem with your account please visit to submit a trouble ticket or contact:

Mr. Chris Dotson

Technology Support Lead, Niswonger Online & APAA

You can also visit this page for answers to frequently asked questions: 

For other concerns that have not been addressed by your teacher or by our Technology Support Team contact:

Dr. Gina Pavlovich                                                             Mrs. Samatha DeBord

Director AP Access for ALL & Niswonger Online              Assistant Director, AP Access for ALL                     

 **NOTE that ONLY your school Counselor or local Administrator can request a course change or drop. No one within the APAA program can approve this.

AP English Language and Composition Reading Choices:

FLVS AP Language and Composition: Independent Reading Options

Throughout the course, you will read letters, speeches, essays, and many other texts to expand your reading repertoire and sharpen your analytical skills. The focus of AP English Language and Composition is on nonfiction texts and to that end, we will study mostly nonfiction works in the course. In most instances, texts are provided within your lesson pages. However, there are a few instances in which you will need to obtain a book from your local library or preferred book seller.

In the modules where you have a list of options, please research the texts and discuss your options with your parent or guardian before making a selection.

Works with a * indicate that the full text can be read on-line.


Contemporary Edition (Module 5) - Choose one of the following:

*Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta  

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafza

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

*Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

*The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Student Edition (Module 8) - Choose one of the following:

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

*Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Warmth of Other Suns by Isabell Wilkerson

**Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown