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2017-18 AP History Changes

We’ve made some changes to the three AP history courses for the 2017-18 school year. These changes will not require AP teachers to resubmit their syllabi to the AP Course Audit or attend professional development.

What’s Changing, and Why

In summer 2016, we asked AP history teachers for their thoughts on the redesigns of the three AP history courses. Overall, teachers who responded to our survey said they liked the organization, structure, and content of the new frameworks.

They also suggested further refinements that would benefit students and teachers. The changes we made in response to this feedback are reflected in the fall 2017 course and exam description for each course. Here are the most important changes and the teacher concerns they address.

Teachers said:

“There are too many elements in each AP history course for students to master.”

Our response:

  1. We streamlined the AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills (previously known as historical thinking skills).
    • Periodization and synthesis are no longer listed as course skills.
    • The practices and skills are now defined in clearer, simpler language and reflect a range of student proficiency levels.

    See the AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills.

  2. We changed the exam design to give teachers and students more clarity about what to expect and more flexibility to support local curricular focus. See the updated specifications for the AP European History, AP U.S. History, and AP World History exams.

Teachers said:

“There are too many different tasks for students in the essay questions. Students don’t have enough time to write good essays.”

Our response:

We updated Section II of the AP history exams (document-based question and long essay question) and the generic rubrics.

  • The synthesis point has been removed from both rubrics.
  • Students will have 10 more minutes to answer the DBQ and long essay question.
  • A single rubric will now be used for the long essay question.
  • The rubrics describe more clearly what students will need to do to earn each point.

The 2018 rubrics will be available in early August.

Additionally:

  1. We reduced the number of AP European History and AP World History learning objectives, making them more useful for teachers in structuring their courses.
  2. We made minor changes to the AP European History and AP World History concept outlines to more appropriately order the key concepts and align with current scholarship.
  3. We articulated a new theme for AP European History: National and European Identity. However, no new course content has been added.

More Information

The changes are reflected in subject-specific detail in the fall 2017 course and exam descriptions:

Stay Tuned

More resources reflecting the updates, including secure practice exams with sample student responses, are being developed to help teachers understand and implement the changes. Also, content and scoring activities in the Teaching and Assessing AP History modules are being revised to reflect the course updates. These resources, along with the updated rubrics for 2018, will become available in the coming months.

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