Rethinking Advanced Placement United States History

Apparently not just my school district is rethinking how to use and present A.P.U.S.H, but the college board has as well. As some of you know I was told recently that “scores do not matter,” that the goal now is to make it more inclusive and get as many kids taking the class. I’m all for more kids taking AP classes, but from the beginning was told to “teach to the text,” “weed out the weak,” and “improve the scores.”

According to this interesting New York Times article the focus of the exam will be less on the massive amount of information and memorization, and instead to “to clear students’ minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking.” This should lead to a far better classroom environment where it seems “history becomes a blur” to most students. This whole new approach, it is hoped, will be more conducive to “critical thinking” and see the “themes” of history. It will also provide more leeway for instructors to delve into a topic and really explore it. I applaud these changes!

Final note, according to the data the number of students taking the U.S. History exam (which is the most popular topic with the most students) have gone up while scores have gone down. This seems to support the new direction that the College Board is taking.

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