June 12, 2018
Senior Vice President, AP and Instruction
The College Board
250 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10281
Dear Mr. Packer,
The American Historical Association (AHA) urges the College Board to reconsider its recent decision to revise the Advanced Placement (AP) World History exam to “assess content only from c. 1450 to the present.”
While recognizing the challenges of teaching the current course with its broad scope, the AHA believes that this particular revision is likely to reduce the teaching of precolonial histories at the high school level. It risks creating a Western-centric perspective at a time when history as a discipline and world history as a field have sought to restore as many voices as possible to the historical record and the classroom.
The College Board’s reconsideration should involve consultation with leading practitioners in the field before implementing such a significant change in the scope of the exam (and by implication the curriculum as a whole). The AHA offers to organize conversations between the College Board and historians who teach in various classroom contexts. A session at the 2019 AHA annual meeting will discuss the AP World History exam and explore how to teach AP-level world history in a way that preserves its multi-vocal richness and chronological breadth.
Mary Beth Norton