College Board changes AP World History class


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

College Board has changed the AP World curriculum to begin at 1200 C.E.

Lindsay Bonetti and Elizabeth Perston

Starting next school year, AP World History will no longer actually be teaching the entire history of the world.

The College Board recently announced that Advanced Placement World History will now focus on only modern history, starting at the year 1200 C.E.,  rather than the emergence of the first humans.

AP World History has long been considered the hardest of the AP history classes due to the substantial amount of content. Covering over 10,000 years of history is difficult to fit into one year, so students usually only get brief insights into the many different civilizations. The new time span will allow AP World teachers to go more in depth, Baldwin’s AP World teachers said.

“Too much is being taught right now, and anything that allows us to go into better depth on historical topics, I’m for,” AP World Christopher Reilsono said.

The new course will be called AP World History: Modern. It originally was proposed to start even later, at 1450 C.E., which led to protests from some teachers, since this was when Europeans began to gain prominence and power in the world. Because of the controversy, the College Board pushed it back to 1200 C.E., yet some teachers are still unsatisfied.

“While 1200 is better than the original proposal, it still promotes a Eurocentric view of history,” AP World teacher Katie Temme, said. “I really would have liked to see the new content start at the year 600 C.E., before the dawn of Islam.”

The College Board also has proposed a Pre-AP World History class to cover the ancient civilizations. The Pre-AP class would be a full-year course, but it would have no AP test at the end and students would not earn college credit from taking it.

Baldwin will not be offering the Pre-AP World History course, because of the cost for the course from the College Board and because there is no room to offer two years of world history in the curriculum. Instead, the ancient world history information is expected to be covered in seventh grade. The AP World: Modern course will start with a brief review of ancient history before diving into the modern material.

The College Board is looking into creating an AP World History: Ancient course in the future if there is enough interest from colleges and high schools. This class would have an end of year test and be worth college credit, unlike the Pre-AP class that will begin next year.

With the change to the AP World curriculum comes the issue of new textbooks. Textbook companies need at least a one year’s notice to print new books for schools, meaning that updated textbooks to cover the AP World History: Modern content will not be available for next school year.

“We’re going to have to use the old textbooks and start about halfway through, where 1200 begins,” Temme said. “Then we will look into new books for the 2020-2021 school year.”

The course has been altered in the past, with the structure of the AP test changing slightly, but never the content.

“We’ve seen changes in AP World before, but nothing this drastic,” Reilsono said.

The change comes as a surprise for past AP World students, some who think the course was fine before.

“I felt like AP World was teaching a good amount of content originally,” junior Nick Murawski said.

Although the AP World: Modern class could provide a new opportunity for students to learn more in depth, Murawski said the class would be “better off how it’s taught currently, since it was never covering too much.”

Sophomore Tulasha Neopaney does not like the change to the timespan and believes students will be missing out on important information.

“They won’t be able to see how the ancient civilizations had an effect on the modern civilizations,” Neopaney said.