As we’ve written about before, there is a growing movement that wishes to fight The College Board’s revised curriculum for AP U.S. History. Recently, conservative politicians in several states have made efforts to ban AP U.S. History classes in high schools. They claim that such classes poison the minds of American students by only presenting American history in a negative light. The College Board, the non-profit organization that created and manages AP courses, as well as educators and students from across the country have stood up to these politicians with varying degrees of success.
AP stands for Advanced Placement, but what exactly does that mean? These classes are offered to high school students across the country, and can generally be taken instead of equivalent required courses. They are taught to a higher standard than most high school classes, namely by expecting college level work from students.
The payoff is that, after passing a class like AP U.S. History, high school students can gain college credit at most accredited colleges and universities in the country. This is a huge help for those students who take such courses, as it means they have to take less general education courses when they get to college, and can get to the courses they actually want to take faster. Students with AP credit might even spend less time in university, which can save them money in the long run, and get them into the workforce faster.
Each AP course is taught by a teacher who generally follows a course plan laid out by The College Board, who also provide the dreaded “AP exams” that students must pass in order to gain college credit for the classes. These exams are rigorous, and in the case of AP history courses, expect students to read primary sources (writings from the period being studied) and come up with their own answers to essay questions.
AP courses are taught like college courses, and this is generally how college level history courses are taught. By taking AP history, students not only learn more about history than students in other classes, but learn valuable analytical skills.