I am writing you today to voice my displeasure about recently announced redesign of the AP World History course. Generally speaking, I have have two concerns I would like to bring to your attention - the first being that a "world history" cannot be truncated, it must contain as much human history as possible and the second regards the way the College Board treats the teachers that it entrusts to teach.
As many have already described to you, be they teachers, students, the former members of the Test Development Committee or other important history organizations, this proposed redesign is not in the best interests of history students, especially history students that are as impressionable as sophomores in high school. Even with "flashbacks" to periods 1-3, students will see that anything before 1450 is not as valuable simply because it's not on the AP Exam. A world history that only examines 1450 to the present is European, full stop. Yes, the rest of the world exists in 1450, but by that time, the influence of Europe was already being seen. As history progresses into Time Periods 5-6, Europe (and the West) had already taken over - there is no debate. 1750-present is a Western dominated era. What does it say to students when all they see of non-Western people for the majority of the examined periods in our course is subjugation and slavery. Considering the political and social environment in the United States in 2018, is this the message, implied or not, that the College Board wants to be transmitting?
A more personal matter for me revolves around how the College Board treats the teachers that teach and promote the courses you create. How can you expect high quality results when the College Board redesigns the course as often as it does? I understand the urge to perfect the curriculum and the exam, but you must allow teachers to perfect their own lessons. How can the College Board understand the results of the new exam unless you give teachers at least 3 years to teach it? I also take personally the idea that you offered at the Open Forum in Salt Lake City that teachers are unable to adequately teach the course. I work very hard to teach AP World History and keep up to date with the myriad changes the College Board makes to my course. It is the College Board's responsibility to train its teachers and ensure that they are aware of the changes. Additionally, it seems that the College Board is not instructing its teachers as to the point of World History. Many of the complaints I hear about the course involve the amount of content - teachers are unable to teach everything in one year. That is not the point - you are not to teach EVERYTHING, you are to teach trends and patterns. That's what the Key Concepts actually do. If you teach the Key Concepts (as I do) the course is manageable. This is a problem of your own making - unprepared teachers (who often can not afford one of your APSI trainings) who must constantly reassess their own lessons because the College Board decides to change the way the course is taught, or the way that essays are graded or the way the essay prompts are written (which was done in the middle of the year). Yes, the course is difficult - it is meant to be difficult.
I love AP World History and I defend its rigor and its expansive scope. That's the beauty of the course. Please do not make this change.
AP World and European History Teacher
Wiregrass Ranch High School
Wesley Chapel, FL