Changes made by the College Board to the Advanced Placement U.S. History test will be first experienced by students during this year’s test on Friday, May 8.
These changes have been in the works since 2007, when a new framework for the APUSH exam and the entire APUSH course was written. It was under revision until 2011, according to the College Board.
This year will also see changes in the AP Physics I and II and the AP Seminar courses and tests.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the AP Art History and AP European History courses and tests will be changed. The 2016-2017 school year will see changes in the AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP World History, and AP Computer Science Principles courses and tests.
These changes are designed to better prepare students for what college professors of this day and age are expecting from students, and are more geared towards writing and understanding rather than memorization. The new APUSH test draws heavy emphasis on analysis and interpretation of primary source documents.
“The new version calls you to be more of a historian, rather than just a student studying history…they want students to be able to exhibit more critical thinking, Common Core-type skills,” said social studies department chair Kathleen Cassidy.
There has been much speculation as to whether the new AP changes have any direct correlation to the Common Core changes happening throughout the country.
“While the College Board says these changes have nothing to do with Common Core, the tests they are designing are much more in the style of what Common Core is. Whether it has anything to do with Common Core, in large education circles, assessments of people are determining that this is a better way to assess students than recalling facts exclusively,” said social studies teacher Jeff Goldstein.
Many APUSH students are worried for the upcoming test, and fear they have not been well prepared for the new style questions.
“I don’t like how we are being thrown into a brand new thing, that even the AP teachers have not had a chance to grapple with, so we are being taught with mostly the old method and maybe it will be totally useless once we get into the testing environment,” said APUSH student Laurel Wilson.
“I think I would prefer just regular multiple choice. I’m good at memorizing facts, and that’s what I’ve been taught to do in school, so I think I would like the old version better,” said Makda Woldesenbet, APUSH student.
Goldstein, however, is not worried about CVHS APUSH students in regards to the AP test. “We’ve been teaching analysis of documents, interpretation of different opinions, and historical thinking skills all along. I think our students will be prepared for the test,” he said.