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Examinations for the State Requirement for the U.S. Constitution and for California State and Local Government (POL 101 Challenge Exam)

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Current Exam Schedule:

TBA beginning of Fall 2010

Please sign up with Dr. Annie Whetmore at(awilson@csudh.edu) or
Dr. Salvatore Russo at(srusso@csudh.edu).

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The Department of Political Science permits students to meet both the U.S. Constitution and the California State and Local Government parts of the statutory requirement in American Institutions in a variety of ways.  Normally, students will meet both of these requirements by enrolling in Political Science 101, American Institutions and passing the course with a grade of “D” or better.  Students may choose to take the course on a CR/NC basis, in which case the equivalent passing grade of “C” or better is required to receive a grade of CR.

The Department also administers a comprehensive exam in American Political Institutions each term for students seeking certification and 3 units of credit for challenging the content of Political Science 101 (Option B below). 

Option A:  Option A is for those students who do not need more units toward graduation but merely want certification for having met the state requirement in U.S. Constitution and the California State and Local Government.  No units of credit are earned under this option.  In case of failure, the student may repeat the exam one time; the student must take and pass the POL 101 course.  The exam is the same as for option B, but is graded solely on a CR/NC basis. A fee of $25.00 is charged for option A.

Option B:  Option B is for students seeking Credit by Examination for the content of POL 101.  Successful completion earns the student three units of credit as well as certification for having met the U.S. Constitution and the California State and Local Government parts of the State requirement in American Institutions.  Students choosing this option must enroll in a section of POL 101and complete the form “Petition for credit by Examination” given at the time the exam is taken.  Students who pass the exam will cease attendance in POL 101, but their names will remain on the class roster and they will receive their grades at the end of the term.  Unsuccessful students may not repeat the exam and must meet the regular POL 101 course requirements and must pass the course to meet the State requirements.  There will be no posting on the student’s permanent record card of the unsuccessful challenges.

Eligibility for the Exam:  To be eligible to take the exam, students must produce proof of current registration at CSU Dominguez Hills and give their student ID number.

Administration and Registration for the Exam:  The exam is administered during the second week of each semester.  Students must check in at the Political Science Department (or with Dr. Annie Whetmore or Dr. Salvatore Russo )during registration or the first week of classes to register for the exam that semester.  At this time they will receive information about the time and place of the exam.

Nature of the Exam:  The exam consists of a multiple-choice section, requiring approximately two hours for completion, and one thirty-minute essay (the student is given a list of several essay questions covering a wide range of topics; the student selects and answers one).  The exam questions cover the entire range of U.S. Federal and California State and Local governmental institutions and are designed to test for ability to deal with or interpret factual information as well as the ability to remember it.  The exam is the same for students choosing options A or B.  Students should bring a #2 pencil for the multiple-choice section, and a blue book for the essay.

Grading of the Exam:  The exam will be scored and the results posted in the Political Science office within five days of its administration.  For those students choosing CR/NC grading (including all students choosing Option A) a minimum passing (CR) score is 60%, or 150 of a total of 250 points.  Scoring for a letter grade will be as follows: 50-59% = D; 60-74% = C; 75-89% = B; 90-100% = A.

Preparation for the Exam:  The following books will prepare you for the examination and are on reserve in the library in the Reserve Room and are available at the bookstore in the general books section:

Wilson, James Q., American Government: Brief Edition

Lawrence, David G., California: The Politics of Diversity

Option C:  The Department of Political Science also administers a separate exam covering only California State and Local Government.  This exam is designed primarily for out-of-state transfer students who have already met the U.S. Constitution part of the State requirement in American Institutions, but not the part dealing with California State and Local Government.  No units of credit are earned under this option.  In the case of failure, the students may repeat the exam one more time when it is next scheduled.  Students who fail the second time must take and pass either a POL 101 (American Institutions) or POL 312 (State and Local Government) course.  A fee of $25.00 is charged.

Procedures for eligibility are the same as those for Option A and B discussed above.  The exam is given during the second week of each semester.  Students should check in at the Political Science office either during registration or the first week of classes to find out when and where the exam will be given.  The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions requiring approximately one hour to complete.  The Lawrence book referenced above is recommended for preparation for the exam.