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Recently, The College Board revised the 2015 Advanced Placement United States History curriculum and exam after initial changes received criticism.
The College Board had already altered the course in 2014 after receiving numerous complaints about the structure and demands of the course. After these complaints, the College Board modified its AP resources to make them “clearer, more precise, and easier to use.” Additionally, they promised to release exams every summer rather than every five to eight years. By making the curriculum clearer and more precise, the College Board changed the focus of much of the content.
Conservatives deemed the 2014 changes to content unpatriotic, as the changes stressed the dark side of American history and it omitted the mention of critical historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and James Madison.
After this backlash, the College Board changed the curriculum again over the summer. The new curriculum now reinstates the idea of American exceptionalism, focusing on portraying the U.S. in leadership roles and emphasizing its historical victories. Critics of this change now argue that the overall course distorts history and mitigates the severity of American treatment toward Native Americans and other groups.
In regard to the exam’s structural changes, U.S History teacher Charlene Levi belives they allow conservative and liberal viewpoints to “meet halfway.”
U.S history teacher Jaime Baranoff said, “in a perfect world we all would be unbiased, but people come from different backgrounds, which affects how individuals perceive things.” Despite the changes to the AP exam, her class arrangement will still entail “reviewing HW, going over documents, and have writing practice by creating theses,” though she stated she will now “incorporate short answers and the new style of multiple choice questions.”
Referring to the controversy surrounding the 2014 curriculum, senior Ivanka Juran said, “I think that we shouldn’t learn a more patriotic history. Facts should be given as facts and people should be allowed to decide their own opinions.”